PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOLS IN GERMANY
In the last decades, several research studies have been executed on the key factors that influence school effectiveness (Essex Research Studies 2014, Hattie 2009). Taking state of the art literature into account, five broad areas can been identified: student, school and leadership, curricula, teachers and teaching/learning approaches. As part of school and leadership area, the overarching topic of performance management has been empirically tested to be an effective strategy for improving outcomes in the public sector (Sun and Ryzin 2014).
“What gets measured gets managed” has become a cliché. However, research shows that the role of organizational performance metrics and measurement cannot be overstated as a success factor of an organization because they affect strategic, tactical and operational planning in setting objectives, evaluating performance, and determining future courses of action. Additionally, accurate metrics of success increase accountability – and accountability drives results (Jaffer and Mourshed 2017, Gunasekaran et al 2004). But which circumstances foster effective performance management practices?
Nowadays, technologies enable managers, predominantly in private sector industrial organizations, to access large sets of data collected by surveys, ratings and machines in order to track specific measures, sometimes even automatized. Taking these facts into consideration, the overarching research question can be formulated: How does the use of technology affect performance management practices in German secondary schools?
Hence, the research project aims to shed light on:
(1) performance management practices and
(2) the current state of the use of technologies in the management of secondary schools in Germany.
For that, an online survey (15-20 minutes) with around 40 questions will be sent out to more than 5.000 principals of secondary private and public schools in Germany. The survey will run until end of September 2017 in order to ensure high response rate. Apart of items on performance management and the current use of technologies, the survey will ask principals about their social-demographic information, general attitude towards technology and social desirability as well as schooling information.
In order to assess performance management practices in German secondary schools, the World Management Survey will be used. The five broad areas (operations, performance monitoring, talent management, target setting, and leadership management) will be condensed. In addition, the original interview-based assessment will be converted to an online survey.
As an outcome of the assessment of the degree of technology use in school management, a novel holistic framework will be developed. For that, previous work of Visscher et al. (2001) can be used and expanded. Six data processing functions that can be executed by management information systems will be enhanced by different stakeholder groups:
(c) internal management,
(e) educational authorities and
(f) service providers.
The evolved framework can be applied intuitively to assess the degree of technology use in other countries and other types of schools.
By following that methodology, the research project aims to be a respectable first step in that research field offering a multitude of starting points for further research.