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Performance Funding for Higher Education

Kevin J. Dougherty, Sosanya M. Jones, Hana Lahr, Rebecca S. Natow, Lara Pheatt, and Vikash Reddy

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A rigorous analysis of the impact—and implications—of performance funding for higher education.

Seeking greater accountability in higher education, many states have adopted performance funding, tying state financial support of colleges and universities directly to institutional performance based on specific outcomes such as student retention, progression, and graduation. Now in place in over thirty states, performance funding for higher education has been endorsed by the US Department of Education and major funders like the Gates and Lumina foundations. Focusing on three states that are...

A rigorous analysis of the impact—and implications—of performance funding for higher education.

Seeking greater accountability in higher education, many states have adopted performance funding, tying state financial support of colleges and universities directly to institutional performance based on specific outcomes such as student retention, progression, and graduation. Now in place in over thirty states, performance funding for higher education has been endorsed by the US Department of Education and major funders like the Gates and Lumina foundations. Focusing on three states that are regarded as leaders in the movement—Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee—Performance Funding for Higher Education presents the findings of a three-year research study on its implementation and impacts.

Written by leading authorities and drawing on extensive interviews with government officials and college and university staff members, this book
describes the policy instruments states use to implement performance funding;
explores the organizational processes colleges rely on to determine how to respond to performance funding;
analyzes the influence of performance funding on institutional policies and programs;
reviews the impacts of performance funding on student outcomes;
examines the obstacles institutions encounter in responding to performance funding demands;
investigates the unintended impacts of performance funding.

The authors conclude that, while performance funding clearly grabs the attention of colleges and leads them to change their policies and practices, it also encounters major obstacles and has unintended impacts. Colleges subject to performance funding are hindered in posting good results by inappropriate performance measures, insufficient organizational infrastructure, and the commitment to enroll many students who are poorly prepared or not interested in degrees. These obstacles help explain why multivariate statistical studies have failed to date to find a significant impact of performance funding on student outcomes, and why colleges are tempted to resort to weakening academic quality and restricting the admission of less-prepared and less-advantaged students in order to improve their apparent performance.

These findings have wide-ranging implications for policy and research. Ultimately, the authors recommend that states create new ways of helping colleges with many at-risk students, define performance indicators and measures better tailored to institutional missions, and improve the capacity of colleges to engage in organizational learning.

Reviews

Reviews

This original and substantial book will be valuable to state and institutional higher education policymakers and administrators.

An unparalleled, meticulously detailed look at how colleges in three states are responding to high-stakes performance funding systems.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
276
ISBN
9781421420820
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 1. Introduction Widespread Adoption of Performance Funding The Different Forms of Performance Funding Conceptualizing How Performance Funding Works Chapter Contents and Preview of

Acknowledgements 1. Introduction Widespread Adoption of Performance Funding The Different Forms of Performance Funding Conceptualizing How Performance Funding Works Chapter Contents and Preview of Findings 2. Research Perspectives, Questions, and Methods Existing Scholarship on the Impacts of Performance Funding and Its Limitations
Policy Instruments
Organizational Changes
Student Outcomes
Obstacles to Effective Functioning
Unintended Impacts
Overall Limitations Enlisting Insights from Other Bodies of Literature
Performance Management in Public Agencies
Policy Design: Policy Instruments and their Strengths and Weaknesses
Data-Driven Decision Making and Organizational Learning in Higher Education
Policy Implementation
Principal-Agent Theory Conceptual Framework Research Questions Research Methods 3. Policy Instruments and their Immediate Impacts Financial Incentives
Little Initial Impact on Institutional Finances
Explaining the Low Initial Impact on Institutional Finances
Perceived Impact of Financial Incentives on Institutional Behavior Communication of State Program Goals and Methods
State Communication
College Communication
Variations in Awareness of State Goals and Methods
Perceived Impact of Awareness of State Goals and Methods on College Efforts Communication of Institutional Performance on the State Metrics
State Communication of Institutional Performance
College Communication of Institutional Performance
Variations in Awareness of Institutional Performance
Perceived Impact of Awareness of Institutional Performance Building Up Institutional Capacity to Respond to Performance Funding
What State Officials Were Doing
Institutional Officials' Assessment of the State Effort to Build Capacity Disaggregating Our Main Patterns
Differences by State
Differences by Type of Institution: Community Colleges and Universities
Differences by Estimated Organizational Capacity of Institutions Summary and Conclusions 4. Organizational Learning in Response to Performance Funding Deliberative Processes Used to Respond to Performance Funding
General Administrative Deliberative Processes
Special Purpose Deliberative Structures
Informal Deliberative Structures Variations in Deliberative Processes
Variations by State
Variation by Type of Institution
Variations by Expected Institutional Capacity Aids and Hindrances to Deliberation
Organizational Commitment and Leadership
Communication and Collaboration
Time and the Opportunity to Deliberate on New Policies and Practices
Timely and Relevant Data Variations in Aids and Hindrances
Differences by State
Differences by Type of Institution
Differences by Institutional Capacity Summary and Conclusions 5. Changes to Institutional Policies, Programs, and Practices Perceptions about the Impact of Performance Funding
Ratings of the Impact of Performance Funding on Institutional Changes
Reasons Given for Not Rating the Impact of Performance Funding "High"
The Joint Influence of Several Different Factors Changes in Academic Policies, Practices, and Programs
Developmental Education Changes
STEM-Field Academic Changes
General Curricular Changes
Changes to Instructional Techniques: Technology/Online Education Student Services Changes
Advising and Counseling
Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction
Orientation and First-Year Programs
Tuition and Financial Aid Policies
Registration and Graduation Procedures
Restructuring Student Services Departments and Staffing
Other Student Services Changes Isomorphism and the Institutionalization of Campus Changes Disaggregating Our Main Patterns
Differences by State
Differences by Institutional Type
Differences by Institutional Capacity Summary and Conclusions Chapter 6: Student Outcomes Descriptive Data
Indiana
Ohio
Tennessee Multivariate Study Findings
Studies Specific to Our Three States
Studies of Performance Funding outside Our Three States
U. S. Performance Funding Outcomes Outside of Higher Education Summary and Conclusions Chapter 7: Obstacles to Effective Response Student-Body Composition
Inadequate Preparation for College
Non-Degree Seekers
Lower Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Its Financial Burdens Inappropriate Performance Funding Measures Insufficient Institutional Capacity Insufficient State Funding of Higher Education Institutional Resistance to Performance Funding Insufficient Knowledge of Performance Funding Variations Within Our Main Findings
Differences by State
Differences by Institutional Type
Differences by Institutional Capacity Summary and Conclusions Chapter 8: Unintended Impacts of Performance Funding Restrictions of Student Admission
General Restrictions
Raising Admission Requirements
Selective Student Recruitment
Directing Institutional Aid to Better Prepared Students Weakening of Academic Standards
Lowering Academic Demands in Class (Grade Inflation)
Reducing Degree Requirements Compliance Costs
Cost of Improving Institutional Research Capacity
Increased Workload Reduced Institutional Cooperation Lower Faculty and Staff Morale Less Faculty Voice in Academic Governance Narrowing of Institutional Mission Variations Within Our Main Findings
Differences by State
Differences by Institutional Type
Differences by Institutional Capacity Summary and Conclusions Chapter 9: Summary and Conclusions Key Findings
Policy Instruments
Organizational Learning
Institutional Changes
Student Outcomes
Obstacles to Responding to Performance Funding
Unintended Impacts
Differences within These Main Patterns Implications for Policy
Reducing Unintended Negative Impacts
Reducing Obstacles to Effectively Responding to Performance Funding
The Importance of Extensive Institutional Consultation and Periodic Review Implications for Research Concluding Thoughts Appendixes Appendix A: The Nature and History of Performance Funding in Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee Appendix B: Interview Protocol for State Officials Appendix C: Interview Protocol for Community College Administrators and Faculty Appendix D: Interview Protocol for University Administrators and Faculty Notes References Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Kevin J. Dougherty

Kevin J. Dougherty is an associate professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and a senior research associate at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College. He is a coauthor of The Politics of Performance Funding for Higher Education: Origins, Discontinuations, and Transformations.
Sosanya Jones
Featured Contributor

Sosanya Jones, EdD

Sosanya Jones (WASHINGTON, DC) is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Howard University. She is the coauthor of Performance Funding for Higher Education.
Featured Contributor

Hana Lahr

Hana Lahr is a doctoral candidate in education policy and a research associate at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Rebecca S. Natow
Featured Contributor

Rebecca S. Natow

Rebecca S. Natow is a senior research associate at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a coauthor of The Politics of Performance Funding for Higher Education: Origins, Discontinuations, and Transformations.
Featured Contributor

Lara Pheatt

Lara Pheatt is a doctoral candidate in politics and education and a research associate at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Featured Contributor

Vikash Reddy

Vikash Reddy is a doctoral candidate in education policy and a research associate at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University.
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