Friday, 1 April 2011


The Drive to Audit Everything

"Summerhill School -- successful even by conventional measures such as examination results, and widely respected for its extraordinary contribution to democracy and for fostering of all kinds of intelligence, creativity, enterprise, and adaptability -- was put under threat of closure for no other reason than daring to take a stand against the rigidity of audit-culture principles"

"The only cloud is a bad report from the Quality Assurance Agency – which has the power to recommend Buckingham lose its royal charter – but Kealey says the agency never went into classrooms, and just looked at paperwork and committee minutes. "It's really a process assurance agency." He points out that Buckingham consistently tops student satisfaction surveys. That is probably because its student-staff ratio is the best in the country and, since they're paying full fees, students have to convince themselves the courses are worth it."

" Patent examiners `measure their own performance in terms of their output', which of course is the number of patents approved, regardless of whether the patents make sense... Goodhart's law cuts deep."

`When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.'

"So, for instance, a typical neo-Benthamite public-policy construction needs a measure of national utility, such as "GDP" (roughly, net business-to-consumer sales)...
For instance, America has built an enormous debt by consuming beyond its income - thus maximizing GDP. Oops."

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