Promoting transparency through information : A global review of school report cards
Cheng, Xuejiao Joy
IIPE. Instituto Internacional de Planificación de la Educación
MetadataShow full item record
The report examines the development of school report cards (SRCs) in selected countries around the world, with a particular emphasis on developing countries. It is intended to assist policy-makers and programme implementers in making informed decisions about how to use SRCs. The report includes: a review of the existing literature, interviews with 22 individuals at various levels of government covering different areas of responsibility connected with implementing countries, a descriptive summary of 14 countries, a summary of structures that can help review efforts undertaken to date, a set of newly developed indicators that integrate issues of accountability and anti-corruption effectiveness in the interpretation of SRCs, selected summaries and suggestions for improvement. The document builds on a USAID Working Paper developed in 2006 for the EQUIP 2 Project (Cameron, Moses, and Gillies, 2006) and examines cases in which report cards have proven especially successful in helping to improve transparency and accountability in education systems. It presents interview and survey findings from 14 countries where SRCs have been implemented in recent years, and compares their design and implementation. It gauges the settings for SRCs through an accountability and transparency index based on the authors’ observations, and examines whether and how SRCs can be used as part of the toolkit in the fight against corruption in the education sector. Finally, it proposes an implementation framework to help improve the delivery of education services and reduce corrupt practices. Some key highlights are: School report cards can be powerful tools to engage communities and hold schools accountable for providing students with a high-quality education. If the process is inclusive and participatory, SRCs can serve as a unique channel allowing education stakeholders to make more informed decisions based on school-level data. Reporting in SRCs appears to be more comprehensive than before. More comprehensive models include measuring outputs – a key factor in accountability – and parent perception. Most countries that appear to be less successful in SRC implementation lack a good understanding of SRC standards and what consequences can be expected based on SRC results. Most SRCs are missing clear, effective accountability measures, as well as clear links to those capable of making changes. More systematic efforts to employ SRCs to identify corruption often focus on specific areas, such as corruption in finance, teacher behaviour, and information systems. The exact relationship between implementation of SRCs and a country’s perceived level of education corruption is unclear. A number of countries with higher levels of perceived corruption in education are among those using more sophisticated SRC approaches. Accountability is a key element in the fight against corruption, and is led, in part, by transparency. Three case study areas, namely Indonesia, Brazil, and the state of Virginia in the United States, employ a combination of transparency and measurable consequences, which increase the accountability of schools.