On attribution gaps and pragmatism

Over the past decade, it seems some aspects of my work and academic interests have come ‘full circle’, linked by the pursuit of more evidence-informed policy and decision making. I’ve been involved in discussions over the past year or so on Evidence Standards for Queensland’s state schooling sector. The following paper – though written in a different time, for a different audience – recently proved influential in guiding the development of a performance monitoring and reporting framework for the Queensland Autism Hub and Reading Centre, along with other less direct influences.


Killerby, P. (2006) ‘Performance, progress and attribution stories: The roles of intervention logic and contribution analysis’, unpublished paper prepared for the MARCO group, 24 May 2006.
The paper’s key points relate to pragmatism in monitoring and reporting. For many agencies, the aim of performance monitoring should not necessarily be to detect final outcomes. This is because attribution claims become increasingly more difficult to isolate the further one moves along the agency or initiative’s cause-and-effect logic map. The aim should instead be to present input, output and outcomes data in a structured and transparent way which tells the story of how the agency makes a difference – spelling out the thinking behind the activities and their effects, and the associated measures and trends.