Reflections on performance agreements in higher education: practical considerations in delivering system-wide improvements

Research output: Working paper

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In this working paper we reflect upon performance agreements in higher education (HE): during the last decade, performance-based steering tools were introduced or reformed in almost every higher education system. They are regarded as a promising instrument to contribute to the achievement of high quality higher education, but in countries that have a longer history with performance agreements (such as many U.S. and German states, Austria, Finland and Denmark) sometimes significant changes have taken place between generations, and we want to understand why this is. With this working paper we highlight a number of key issues to be taken into account when the introduction or evaluation of performance agreements is being considered. We have gathered information (from laws, white papers, websites of governments and institutions, and expert interviews) on a range of higher education systems alongside a general literature review. We argue policy makers should not to copy ‘blindly’ the design and implementation of performance agreements from other countries, as their culture, political and legal system, policy style, size, HE system characteristics and strategic agendas are different. Nonetheless, experiences from elsewhere are an important source for inspiration and a valuable input
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameCHEPS working paper series
ISSN (Electronic)2589-9716



  • IR-97748
  • METIS-320818

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