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Key Performance Indicators in Education Policy

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Practice Advice on Education Policy

Key Performance Indicators in Education Policy (OECD)

Description: In an OECD paper, Michael Conlon of the Canadian Federation of Students notes that the management and governance of colleges and universities has been transformed in recent years by introduction of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs take a variety of forms depending on the jurisdiction where they are deployed and, more importantly, the government authority in charge of administering them.


  • KPIs have generally been introduced by governments with avowed policies of privatization. That is, in the (Canadian) provinces that have been the most aggressive about KPIs the government in question is broadly in favour of private enterprise and management solutions for institutions generally viewed as public.
  • KPIs implicitly and explicitly centralize the decision making process of colleges and universities. The move to centralize generally makes institutions less responsive to local needs and less efficient in determining strategic plans that make sense for the institution and community in question.
  • Current options on offer as KPIs have done little to improve the accessibility, quality or accountability of public colleges and universities. From a purely pragmatic perspective, the available evidence suggests that KPIs are doing more to hinder than facilitate those goals.
  • Outcomes that KPIs are designed to measure often ignore the social goals of accessibility and equality.

Source: OCED (2004). Michael Conlon, Performance Indicators: Accountable to Whom? at (accessed 19 November, 2012).

Page Created By: Matthew Seddon. The content presented on this page is drawn directly from the source(s) named above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases of material drawn from it. This material does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the creator of this page or the researchers associated with this project.  Further, the opinions expressed in the source and presented on this page do not necessarily reflect the official institutional positions of the organization responsible for the source’s publication.

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