Reporting on service performance: measurement and myth in the New Zealand compulsory education sector

Beattie, Claire (2007) Reporting on service performance: measurement and myth in the New Zealand compulsory education sector. In: 7th Global Conference on Business & Economics, 13-14 Oct 2007, Rome, Italy.


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[Abstract]: This paper reports on the results of a case study investigating the response of New Zealand schools to the legislative requirement to prepare service performance reports. To date, the ongoing failure to successfully establish service performance reporting in schools suggests further research is warranted. Prime facie, it was expected that schools would find the output and outcome distinction underlying the Ministry of Education’s procedural guidelines difficult to apply. However, the case study findings support this expectation to a surprising extent. Schools do not apply the output/outcome distinction to their choice of objectives because they include only activities that are easy to measure in their statements of service performance. Objectives are then designed to fit these activities. In this sense, schools adopt a historical and arbitrary methodology to service performance reporting whilst government policy assumes a forward looking and purposeful approach. The research findings also suggest that schools do not prepare statements of service performance in the way intended by the reporting framework because they question its applicability and relevance. Participants expressed concerns with the language used in service performance reporting because it is informed by terminology which they perceive to be associated with commercial enterprises. Schools felt this model was incongruous with the educational environment. Overall, the research suggests that schools are not prepared to devote sufficient time and resources to developing adequate reports of service performance. If, as appears to be case, “service performance reports are [expected to be] forged in the field, by the public entities required to produce them” (Thompson, 1995, p.337) then service performance reporting in the school sector seems destined to remain a controversial and problematic issue for both the schools and the New Zealand government.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions on web site.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2008 05:31
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:56
Uncontrolled Keywords: New Zealand, schools, service performance reports, service performance reporting
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150102 Auditing and Accountability
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation

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