Carrot or Stick? How Do School Performance Reports Work?

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State and federal government espouse school performance reports as a way to promote education reform. Some practicing educators question whether performance reports are effective. While the question of effectiveness deserves study, it accepts the espoused purposes of performance reports at face value, and fails to address the more basic, tacit political and symbolic roles of performance reports. Theories of organization, modern government, and regulation provide a context that helps to clarify these political and symbolic roles. Several performance report and assessment programs in California provide illustrations.


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Fetler, M. E. (1994). Carrot or Stick? How Do School Performance Reports Work?. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2, 13.