Cover: Performance Contracting in Education and the RAND

Performance Contracting in Education and the RAND

by George R. Hall

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The HEW-sponsored RAND study has 2 basic goals: to track performance contracting as it develops, and to provide educational decisionmakers with a guide to potential uses of techniques and methods of structuring programs. RAND activities have consisted of surveying the performance contracting field during the past school year and of field monitoring five districts in depth and 15 in breadth. A performance contracting guide is in preparation. Two general conclusions are: (1) Performance contracting programs are very diverse and heterogeneous. (2) Programs to date have been limited to reading, mathematics, and some vocational education, which reflects underdeveloped techniques for measuring educational output. This limitation is likely to persist. In spite of being complex and difficult to implement, these programs are a useful R&D tool. They enable examination of new materials, techniques, and educational approaches without investment in facilities or personnel for in-house effort. Moreover, it is often politically advantageous to have a far-out experiment conducted by an outsider. (see also P-4558.)

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