The French education system has a mixed record. A generally very successful pre-school and primary school level contrasts with underfunded public universities with high dropout rates which exist alongside very successful higher education institutions for elites. Initial education, especially secondary education and the universities, along with labour market policies themselves, do not always succeed in improving labour market entry for a significant proportion of young people. Parts of the management of education have been decentralised, yet educational institutions themselves generally have a very restricted degree of autonomy. The system of performance measurement and incentives, at all levels of education, needs to be reviewed. This Working Paper relates to the 2007 OECD Economic Survey of France (www.oecd.org/eco/survey/france), and is also available in French under the title “Renforcer les incitations à une meilleure performance du système éducatif en France”.