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International Handbook on the Economics of Education

Edited by Geraint Johnes and Jill Johnes

This major Handbook comprehensively surveys the rapidly growing field of the economics of education. It is unique in that it comprises original contributions on an exceptional range of topics from a review of human capital, signalling and screening models, to consideration of issues such as educational externalities and economic growth, funding models, determinants of educational success, the educational production function, educational standards and efficiency measurement. Labour market issues such as the market for teachers and the transition of students from school to work are also explored.
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Chapter 16: Efficiency Measurement

Jill Johnes


16 Efficiency measurement Jill Johnes 1 Introduction The measurement of how well institutions of education perform has been the subject of increased attention in recent years. Variables purporting to measure various aspects of the performance of schools and universities are published regularly in many countries at both local and national level. Such indicators often take the form of ratios which represent efficiency in producing outputs (for example, the ratio of pupils in a given year obtaining a minimum level of achievement to total pupils in the year) or efficiency in using resources (for example, cost per student). From this point it is a simple step to produce ‘league tables’ of school and university performance which aim to inform consumer choice and resource allocation. The dangers of using these so-called ‘indicators of performance’ are, by now, well known. First, the institutions of interest (schools or universities, for example) operate under different conditions and in different environments which are not adequately accounted for by simple ratios. Secondly, institutions of education produce an array of outputs from a range of inputs. A ratio of one output to one input, for example, cannot capture the complete performance of an organization across the breadth of its activities and it is, at best, only a partial indicator. As a consequence, a number of techniques have been developed and applied in the context of education in an effort to measure the true efficiency of organizations. Statistical techniques have progressed from...

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