Applying Performance Funding to Essential Skills: State of Knowledge Review - SRDC

Applying Performance Funding to Essential Skills: State of Knowledge Review

Authors:Boris PalametaKaren MyersNatalie Conte

This State of Knowledge Review was prepared as part of the Pay for Performance Project, a six-month initiative funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s (HRSDC) Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES).

The purpose of this project is to explore ideas for experimenting with various approaches to rewarding Essential Skills service delivery providers for their performance, or in other words, paying for success. Specifically, the project has three broad objectives:

First, to investigate the current state of knowledge on what works with performance-based funding (PBF), identify key lessons learned, and highlight promising approaches;

Second, to consult with key stakeholders to determine whether and how these promising approaches could be applied to an Essential Skills training context;

Finally, building on these consultations and wider lessons learned, develop a performance-based funding model for Essential Skills training delivery that can be pilot tested and evaluated in Canada. In this report, we assess the state of knowledge in terms of what we know about what works and what does not work with performance-based funding system in the context of employment and training programs. The report is organized into five sections:

  • Section 1 presents the project goals and outlines our research methodology;  Section 2 presents a conceptual framework for understanding PBF models and then draws on this conceptual framework to describe various PBF models as they have been applied to selected employment and training and programs in Canada, the US, UK, and Australia;
  • Section 3 analyzes the research literature to determine what know about the effectiveness of various PBF models in terms of changing provider behavior and improving outcomes for clients;
  • Section 4 draws on the findings from our literature review as well as the results of our consultations to present lessons learned and promising directions for PBF models;  Section 5 concludes the report by summarizing the key findings of this State of Knowledge Review.
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