Difference between output and outcome in educational context

Difference between output and outcome in educational context

  25 Nov 2018

Mostly, scholars get confused in comprehending two similar looking terminologies such as ‘Output’ and ‘Outcome’ in the field of education.

This article purports to analyze some prominent scholarly works to elucidate both terms and further highlight their significance in the field of education.

In the context of education, output means the total number of students that finally acquire educational success in their school life as it is considered to be the end product of the educational inputs that is realized by a thorough process of evaluation and it ensures the desired goals of output have been achieved.

In regard to student, assessments are carried out effectively by the implication of educational programs so that students can strive to achieve high grades, better job statistics and high graduation rates. Educational outputs benefit the students through the implementation of proper educational programs [educational planning and pedagogies] and conveying the curriculum. In the competitive and dynamic world, the educational output can be achieved by understanding the students’ needs, constrains, priorities, challenges and their issues.

On the other hand, outcome is defined as the assessment of the positive and negative effects of a strategy, implementation, methodology and outcome is taken into account.  Outcomes can be measured and can help establish new objectives and strategic plans for the future but if the desired outcomes are not achieved, then re-planning of current polices is needed to be done in order to achieve future desired goals.

The outcome-based educational planning model enhances the change of success as it commences with getting consensus on the desired results (Stephens & Herman, 1984). As the educational stakeholders have developed in educational planning for the benefit of the school, so does the school need to reciprocate in order to make curriculum development and drive to improve outcomes.

All school stakeholders need results/outcomes i.e. MoE provide funding for functionality of schools in order to make the schools more accountable to produce effective teaching and learning practices. Outcomes are related to the learning result that a wise educational planner will thrive to achieve by implying excellence of learning environment to achieve the desired outcomes among students.

Significance in Educational Planning

Positive Output analysis can be done through developing and enhancing the educational facilities i.e. better access to health care and infrastructure for the teachers and students in a school.

Recruitment and human resource development of teachers played valuable role on the output. Highly qualified teachers with their teaching pedagogies and expertise help in achieving high pass and graduation rates.

Planning, accountability, improved management, responsiveness and monitories of policies are necessary in education to have positive impact on the outputs. Teachers need to teach systematically in order to achieve outputs by proper implication of objectives, content, method of assessments and teaching.

Input relates to the putting into practice proper content, objectives and curriculum by the teacher and output is the end product of educational input and it is based on desired goals. Lastly, teaching and assessment are integral part of educational outputs.

The outputs approach provides wide information to the educational planner for the future growth. The schools should provide better infrastructure and health care facilities to the students and teachers in order to control their absenteeism rate. The recruitment of the staff, teachers and the administrations directly affect the outputs of the schools as the skilled and qualified teachers assist students in receiving the better education, higher total scores in their assessments, higher passing rate and well utilization of the resources in schools. These teachers produce the better citizens of the nation.

The schools should introduce the practice of Education for All at free or reasonable cost so that everyone can receive education for free or at an affordable cost.

In the outcome-based approach, educational planners should introduce the concept of creative-learning by providing better training to the teachers and retain them to implement this program in their classroom teaching for the benefit of the students. The input and the output process should include the correct mix of the aims, goals, objectives, assessments, teaching methods, contents and to produce skilled and qualified pupils.

Whereas, outcome helps as a planning means that is used by educational planners to meet the desired goals among students in attaining education. Sometimes decisions in school setting are made on the basis of traditional assumptions and outdated approaches so the outcomes are negatively affected.

Educational planners need to focus on certain areas to establish outcome-based teaching and learning environment in schools. These areas must be delivered to students for the sustainable future development. Equal opportunity must be provided to each individual to learn in schools. Regular assessment of the curriculum content, unity and commitment have to exist in schools to develop a plan that could produce a better outcome for the school and have immediate benefits for the children and there need to be an active engagement of all stakeholders to enhance the outcome of providing quality education to children for their future growth.

Outcomes are year-long interconnected and interdisciplinary approaches that help in the development of the capabilities of the students in the learning process.


The National College for Teaching & Leadership’s Understanding inputs, outputs and outcomes explains that “input is usually expressed as costs refer to the amount of labour, material and services used. These are converted into monetary terms by multiplying the physical quantity by the price per unit. In education, inputs refer to the resources used to educate the students (Anthony and Herzlinger, 1991: 19). This work describes educational outputs are the direct effects on the students in relation to their knowledge acquisition, skills, beliefs and attitudes.

Ease of evaluation means that the most frequent measurements of outputs are examination results and test scores. The current use of value-added measures takes into account pupils’ prior attainment to provide a fairer measurement, but not social background, (contextual value-added).

These statistical techniques provide estimations and indications that identify areas for greater scrutiny (Levacic, 2000, 5). Lastly, Educational outcomes are the longer-term impacts of pupils and society as a result of educational inputs at an earlier stage. These can include the individual’s ability to obtain employment, the income the individual earns or their enjoyment of cultural activities.” Therefore, the meaning and implication of these terms need to be understood while using in educational context.

Disclaimer: Dr Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history at the College of Humanities and Education of the Fiji National University.  Ph.D History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, M.Phil History, MA History, PG Diploma in Journalism, PG Diploma in Book Publication and PG Diploma in Education from University of South Pacific. The views expressed is his own and not of this newspaper or the employer. For comments or suggestions, email. dr.sakulkundra@gmail.com



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