Performance reporting--publishing information on the results of higher
education at the state, system, and institutional levels--is said to have the
potential to enhance external accountability, improve institutional
performance, further state needs, and possibly even increase state funding.
But are campus administrators and public officials actually using these
reports? Does performance reporting really lead to these kinds of outcomes?
No study has ever tested the effectiveness of performance reporting--until
This issue explores the origins and development of performance reporting,
examines the attitudes of state and campus leaders, and discusses how these
reports are--or are not--being put to use. Burke and Minassians begin by
tracing the rise of performance reporting amidst the demands for increased
accountability in higher education in the late 80s and early 90s. They
examine the formats, coverage, and content of performance reports--with a
particular emphasis on how well suited they are to the needs of their end
users in government and on campus--and discuss how reporting indicators are
selected and what the selection process tells us about policymakers' goals,
values, and models for excellence for public colleges and universities.
The authors then look at what state and campus officials think about
performance reports and how they actually use them. Burke and Minassians
analyze the opinions of a geographically diverse group of governor's aides,
legislative chairs of education committees, higher education finance
officers, and campus institutional researchers about the use, effects and
future of performance reporting, and about the importance and
appropriateness of the indicators most commonly used in performance reports.
Finally, the authors discuss reasons why performance reporting does not yet
seem to be having the strong positive impact envisioned by it's supporters,
and they make recommendations about how to best use and improve performance
This is the 116th issue of the quarterly journal New Directions for Institutional Research.