Thursday, June 2, 2016

Today in Astonishing News That No One Could Have Predicted: Performance-based funding doesn't work.

Let's reward universities for improving their graduation rates. That'll get 'em moving. Right?

Universities in Pennsylvania did not produce more degrees even after operating under performance-based funding for nearly a decade, according to the report. Indiana schools also have failed to measurably boost degree production while at the same time becoming more selective and less diverse. And even after Tennessee ratcheted up financial incentives, universities there did not improve their graduation or retention rates, according to the paper.

In fact, 

States that tie higher education funding to performance have it all wrong, report says
new paper argues that performance-based funding models are reinforcing disparities within higher education and doing little to move the needle on completion. Thirty-two states have funding systems that allocate money to institutions based on performance measures. (Washington Post, May 26)
"Tying funding to performance favors state flagships and other well-heeled schools to the detriment of institutions that could use the most help, the report said."
What a surprise.  Institutions serving students who are not wealthy or well-prepared are at a disadvantage? It's almost as if "graduation from college can be predicted based on student characteristics known before they begin their studies."
But by all means, keep punishing institutions for things that are out of their control.  Because Accountability or something.


  1. The same type of shit happens in K-12. I don't have cites to specific articles, but I'm pretty sure this blog does:


    (Thanks to Cassandra for alerting me to this resource.)

    1. Exactly what I was thinking (again) -- not curmudgucation exactly, but the general idea that it turns out that K-12 teachers only have so much influence on their students' success (however defined); sadly, things like parental education and income and the presence of the basics -- food, stable shelter, medical care, appropriate places to study and sleep -- play a much larger role.

      No question that both we and K-12 teachers can help, but when free meals and/or a food/toiletries pantry on campus (an increasingly common phenomenon) are helping at least as much, then there are larger problems that we can better address as voters than as professors.