PPPsin education:state of the art of research and future directions(a realist evaluation perspective) Antoni Verger IS Academie ‘Education and Development’
Structure of the presentation • Limitations of current research on PPPs to guide policy decisions • Research framework to study PPPs based on the principles of realist evaluation.
EVIDENCE BASED POLICY
The case of Chile “The overall results of the reform of 1981 are still unclear” (Fischer et al 2005) UNCERTAIN “There is a positive but moderate effect of competition on average test scores at the country level” (Valenzuela 2006) POSITIVE-NEUTRAL “Empirical research indicates that more than 20 years of reform did not lead to improvements in average academic achievement (Patrinos et al 2009) NEUTRAL “School choice has increased stratification while having little effect on average achievement” (McEwan, Urquiola and Vegas 2008) NEGATIVE “The Chilean system does not become more unequal because of the existence of voucher schools, but rather because of the absence of voucher schools in some areas” (Gallego 2006) POSITIVE
PART 2: The realist evaluation of PPPs • Principles of RE: • Programmes are hypothesis about social betterment that need to be unpacked and tested • Programmes are embedded in social systems and work selectively • Social programmes will have effects only if people choose to make them work
Three steps to open the black-box • Identify and synthesize the theory of action backing the PPP programme • Sample: Identify and delimit a community/population where the intervention is going on • Fieldwork: Explore the intermediate relations that make up the PPP (the ‘things’ that happen between the intervention and its outcomes).
H1: For middle class families, is less costly getting quality information H2: Rather than on school quality, families base choice on other criteria H3: Bad schools lose some students, but not so many as the theory would expect H4: Good performing schools perceive more pressure H9: non-profit providers avoid rural and unpopulated areas H5: ‘Invested selection’ happens H6: IS > cream skimming, peer-effects loses H7: Choice > expectations and motivation H8: PPPS might incur into efficiency loses
To conclude • There is no enough dialogue between policy reports/reviews and high quality academic research (yet). • Rigorous research should not simply answers whether programmes “work or not”, and find out: • How do social programmes bring about their effects? • What programmes work for whom under what circumstances? • The theory behind PPPs is so complex that it’s uncertain it will achieve all the expected outcomes, especially in low-income countries.
To conclude • Finally, the research agenda on PPPs should not simply focus on programmatic aspects, but also look at broader governance issues such as: • The way authority is transformed in the context of PPPs. • Whether the managerial discourse on risk taking and competition is appropriate for the distribution of a public good as education. • Whether PPPs and similar managerial education reforms pay sufficient attention to the complexity of education processes and students learning.