Apples to Oranges: Benchmarking Vocational Education and Training Programmes

Peter Bogetoft, Jesper Wittrup

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper discusses methods for benchmarking vocational education and
training colleges and presents results from a number of models. It is
conceptually difficult to benchmark vocational colleges. The colleges typically
offer a wide range of course programmes, and the students come
from different socioeconomic backgrounds. We solve the comparability
problem by focusing on effects in terms of retention and employment
rates as opposed to the intermediate outcomes like grades. We neutralize
cost differences using alternative cost measures. And we use detailed
register data to account for student backgrounds. From a methodological
point of view, we combine average methods (multilevel analysis) with
frontier methods. We thus combine the key methods of school effectiveness
research and school efficiency and productivity research. The analyses
show that the efficiency of Danish vocational colleges varies considerably.
Adopting best practices could lead to cost savings of between 9 and 33%.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)191-216
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Benchmarking
  • Data envelopment analysis
  • Multilevel models
  • Vocational colleges

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