Back to top

Performance Metrics

CAUT Policy Statement

Performance metrics include, but are not limited to, the application of quantitative analysis and statistics to assess teaching, research, creative activities, service, and professional practice of academic staff members. These metrics are applied to academic work as a proxy for its impact and quality, based on factors such as student opinion surveys, media coverage, number and size of research grants or funding, number of publications, citation counts, and ranking in journal publications. These performance metrics are often misleading and should not substitute for the substantive review of scholarly activity.

The work of academic staff is best assessed through peer review. Reliance on performance metrics can violate academic freedom and interfere with collegial governance, institutional autonomy, hiring, performance assessment, tenure and promotion decisions, compensation, working conditions, as well as disciplinary and termination actions.

Assessing teaching, research, creative activities, service, and/or professional practice with an exclusive or excessive emphasis on performance metrics neglects the diversity and totality of scholarly activity. When such metrics are used to determine resource allocation, they can distort academic priorities, as individual scholars, academic units, and post-secondary institutions reorient their work in an attempt to meet metricized criteria.

Performance metrics can especially disadvantage Aboriginal scholars, members of equity-deserving groups, those publishing or disseminating knowledge in languages other than English, those who are on non-traditional career paths, as well as those who conduct unconventional teaching, research, creative activities, service, professional practice, and/or research.

Academic Staff Associations are urged to bargain for language in their collective agreements that protects their members against the use of performance metrics.

Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2019;
Approved by the CAUT Council, April 2024.