Chapter 11: Using indicators in higher education policy: between accountability, monitoring and management
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This chapter provides an overview of the different purposes that underlie the massive development of indicators in higher education policy. To that end, this chapter concentrates on the use of indicators for higher education policy by central level authorities. It starts by presenting a series of trends within and outside higher education systems, which provides the context in which to explain the current popularity of indicators. Second, it proposes a classification of purposes and uses of indicators for public policy in higher education. Finally, using international comparison, it attempts to link the underlying purposes for indicator development to national administrative traditions and steering approaches used by public authorities for their higher education systems. This discussion provides evidence for the main argument that indicators are developed to support the logic of a national higher education governance framework, which may be geared either to systems’ control, accountability to stakeholders or the enhancement of competition in the sector.

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