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League Tables and Their Limitations: Statistical Issues in Comparisons of Institutional Performance

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  • Harvey Goldstein
  • David J. Spiegelhalter

Abstract

In the light of an increasing interest in the accountability of public institutions, this paper sets out the statistical issues involved in making quantitative comparisons between institutions in the areas of health and education. We deal in detail with the need to take account of model‐based uncertainty in making comparisons. We discuss the need to establish appropriate measures of institutional 'outcomes' and base‐line measures and the need to exercise care and sensitivity when interpreting apparent differences. The paper emphasizes that statistical methods exist which can contribute to an understanding of the extent and possible reasons for differences between institutions. It also urges caution by discussing the limitations of such methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Harvey Goldstein & David J. Spiegelhalter, 1996. "League Tables and Their Limitations: Statistical Issues in Comparisons of Institutional Performance," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 159(3), pages 385-409, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:159:y:1996:i:3:p:385-409
    DOI: 10.2307/2983325
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Hewson & Keming Yu, 2008. "Quantile regression for binary performance indicators," Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 24(5), pages 401-418, September.
    2. Magne Mogstad & Joseph P. Romano & Azeem Shaikh & Daniel Wilhelm, 2020. "Inference for Ranks with Applications to Mobility across Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement across Countries," NBER Working Papers 26883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. George Leckie, 2009. "The complexity of school and neighbourhood effects and movements of pupils on school differences in models of educational achievement," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(3), pages 537-554, June.
    4. Nils Gutacker & Andrew Street, 2018. "Multidimensional performance assessment of public sector organisations using dominance criteria," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 13-27, February.
    5. Anders Skrondal & Sophia Rabe‐Hesketh, 2009. "Prediction in multilevel generalized linear models," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(3), pages 659-687, June.
    6. Mutz, Rüdiger & Daniel, Hans-Dieter, 2018. "The bibliometric quotient (BQ), or how to measure a researcher’s performance capacity: A Bayesian Poisson Rasch model," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 1282-1295.
    7. Pratap S. Birthal & Jaweriah Hazrana & Digvijay S. Negi, 2019. "A multilevel analysis of drought risk in Indian agriculture: implications for managing risk at different geographical levels," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 499-513, December.
    8. Jessica K Athens & Patrick L Remington & Ronald E Gangnon, 2015. "Improving the Rank Precision of Population Health Measures for Small Areas with Longitudinal and Joint Outcome Models," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(6), pages 1-20, June.
    9. Manuel Gomes & Nils Gutacker & Chris Bojke & Andrew Street, 2016. "Addressing Missing Data in Patient‐Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS): Implications for the Use of PROMS for Comparing Provider Performance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(5), pages 515-528, May.
    10. Isabella Sulis & Mariano Porcu & Vincenza Capursi, 2019. "On the Use of Student Evaluation of Teaching: A Longitudinal Analysis Combining Measurement Issues and Implications of the Exercise," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 142(3), pages 1305-1331, April.
    11. Heikki Pursiainen & Mika Kortelainen & Jenni Pääkkönen, 2014. "Impact of School Quality on Educational Attainment - Evidence from Finnish High Schools," ERSA conference papers ersa14p711, European Regional Science Association.
    12. Sulis, Isabella & Giambona, Francesca & Porcu, Mariano, 2020. "Adjusted indicators of quality and equity for monitoring the education systems over time. Insights on EU15 countries from PISA surveys," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    13. George Leckie & Harvey Goldstein, 2009. "The limitations of using school league tables to inform school choice," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(4), pages 835-851, October.
    14. Dale W Bratzler & Sharon-Lise T Normand & Yun Wang & Walter J O'Donnell & Mark Metersky & Lein F Han & Michael T Rapp & Harlan M Krumholz, 2011. "An Administrative Claims Model for Profiling Hospital 30-Day Mortality Rates for Pneumonia Patients," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 6(4), pages 1-7, April.
    15. David Afshartous & Michael Wolf, 2007. "Avoiding ‘data snooping’ in multilevel and mixed effects models," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(4), pages 1035-1059, October.
    16. Pia Kjær Kristensen & Raquel Perez-Vicente & George Leckie & Søren Paaske Johnsen & Juan Merlo, 2020. "Disentangling the contribution of hospitals and municipalities for understanding patient level differences in one-year mortality risk after hip-fracture: A cross-classified multilevel analysis in Swed," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(6), pages 1-14, June.
    17. Tom Brijs & Dimitris Karlis & Filip Van den Bossche & Geert Wets, 2007. "A Bayesian model for ranking hazardous road sites," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(4), pages 1001-1017, October.
    18. Gwyn Bevan & Richard Hamblin, 2009. "Hitting and missing targets by ambulance services for emergency calls: effects of different systems of performance measurement within the UK," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(1), pages 161-190, January.
    19. Nigel Rice & Andrew Jones, 1997. "Multilevel models and health economics," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(6), pages 561-575, November.
    20. David I. Ohlssen & Linda D. Sharples & David J. Spiegelhalter, 2007. "A hierarchical modelling framework for identifying unusual performance in health care providers," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(4), pages 865-890, October.
    21. Martin Klein & Tommy Wright & Jerzy Wieczorek, 2020. "A joint confidence region for an overall ranking of populations," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 69(3), pages 589-606, June.
    22. Nicholas T. Longford, 2004. "Missing data and small area estimation in the UK Labour Force Survey," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 167(2), pages 341-373, May.

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