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An explanation of performance contracting and a discussion of the basic issues involved in the decision to undertake a performance contracting program for education in public schools. Many school districts now have performance contracts with private learning-system firms or groups of teachers. These contracts call for the education of designated groups of students, whose measured achievement determines the amount of the contract payments. Performance contracting has rigorous requirements: the product or service the contractor is to furnish must lend itself to clear definition, and the contractor's achievement must be objectively measurable. At present, educators agree on specification and measurement techniques for only a few subjects, notably reading and mathematics. The future expansion of performance contracting is therefore likely to depend largely on the development of more acceptable norm- and criterion-referenced measures of achievement.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.