Sunday, August 24, 2014

Values and Beliefs Impact the School Scorecard

            The other day, a colleague asked my opinion on the contents of a school scorecard. She shared an example from a school which set my thoughts in motion. As I prep to lead an upcoming graduate level course on school program evaluation, I find myself considering the role of values and beliefs in influencing what is considered as valuable data. The powerful external accountability policies at the state and federal level have overwhelmed the discussion on what constitutes school successes. Yet most educators would quickly say that there is more to school quality than test scores.
            The Balanced Scorecard developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton and described in The Institute Way provides a resource for schools and other organizations to determine how they will measure success. Johnson and Bonaiuto (2008) described how the Needham (MA) School District used the model to identify the qualities of an excellent school, the core competencies graduates should have, and strategies to know if these competencies are achieved. Using a broad group of stakeholders, test scores were mentioned but were not the central element in what constituted success for a school. Instead elements such as safety, student engagement, quality teaching, preparing students for the real world, communication with stakeholders, clean, attractive school campuses, going to college, and diversity were identified as important in an excellent school.
            What process would you use to determine the answers to the three Needham School District guiding statements? How would the responses determine what type of data was collected and schools evaluated? The solutions surface the shared values and beliefs of the school community.

Johnson, G. & Bonaiuto, S., 2008, Accountability with Roots, Educational Leadership, 66, 4, 26-29.

Rohm, H., Wilsey, D., Stout Perry, G., & Montgomery, D., 2013, The Institute Way,  The Institute Press, Cary, NC.

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