The Balanced Scorecard for Schools


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Overview

Each program contains a series of sessions that are a blend of research and best practice presentations, coupled with workshops designed to tailor content to specific contexts, by blending international advice with local experience and understandings. The programs require participants to engage actively in the sessions through, for example, using their own school’s survey data, interacting with colleagues, tackling problem solving scenarios, and completing non-threatening assessments of what they have learned and gained from each session.



Program 1

How to Plan for and Achieve Effective and Sustainable School Improvement
This program focuses on the phenomenon of change in the context of school improvement. It explores theoretical and research content relevant to the nature of change, factors promoting change and those that challenge it. In particular, it deals with how a more systematic approach to understanding forces and variables influencing school systems, schools and classrooms can be used to avoid simplistic explanations and underdeveloped improvement strategies. We investigate how to elicit open and honest discussions between groups and individuals – a critical prerequisite to consensus building and collective effort. We explore how best to find what are the major factors influencing the school’s performance (positively and negatively).

The topic covers a broad range of school roles and responsibilities that ultimately affect the quality of teaching and learning and how different policies, programs and practices impact student performance and well-being. The participants will explore what has been learned about change for improvement in schools and systems drawing especially on international research, literature and best practice that contain valuable lessons for local contexts. In particular, the approach will consider the various ‘component parts’ of the school’s responsibilities and activities based on the five domains surveyed in The Balanced Scorecard for Schools Program (BSfS). Those domains include: School Environment, School Leadership, Teaching and Learning, Well-being and Equity, and Use of Technology. With the benefit of having a report on their own school’s BSfS survey findings, participants will be trained in how they can take full advantage of the rich information and data provided in the report.

A major objective of the training is to build each participant’s knowledge, understanding, skill and (most of all) confidence in knowing what the data says and how it can best be used. Participants will have frequent opportunities to compare their data with others, to apply their data to analytic processes and to link these to improvement strategies. There will be an emphasis on recognising where the data suggests opportunities for improvement and where it endorses current practice. This information will then be coupled to the understanding of the dynamics of change – prospects for positive change and forces working against change. The program emphasises the importance of context, managing change, inclusivity, communication, engagement and the careful planning and monitoring of progress. It will highlight likely risks and suitable risk management strategies.

Participants will be introduced to a (templated) methodology for building school improvement plans and implementation strategies and will investigate how their school’s BSfS information and data can be used to give content, shape, form and guidance to change strategies. This involves instruction in process and method together with significant sessions that enable participant collaboration in order to model the dynamics of working with strategies for change in their own school setting - where there is a diversity of views, philosophies and personalities. A key objective of the program will be to locate the content very much in a realistic setting that is directly relevant to, and representative of, the participant’s own school. Another key focus is on the elements of stakeholders’ motivation, engagement, mindsets together with prevailing attitudes and behaviours.

Topics:

  • Determine your Vision
  • Recognise that every School is an ‘Eco-System’
  • Understand your school’s Data and Findings
  • ‘Get Below the Surface’
  • Organise for Change
  • Bring it All Together


Program 2

Key Lessons Learned from International Research, Experience and Best Practice
This program draws on the BSfS program’s vast International Evidence Base together with other leading international research and literature to highlight widely agreed and recommended policies, programs and practices. (Including, for example, drawing extensively on publications of the OECD and the NCEE in Washington DC, findings from neuroscience about how we learn, and an increasingly developed body of knowledge of factors affecting student well-being).

We share with participants the most essential practices that have been shown to work effectively in varied contexts, including at classroom, school and system level. This program takes a broad-based approach that combines the content of the BSfS focus and program with the wider environment in which a school operates. The program, for example, connects school practice to how knowledge and skills will likely need to operate in a 21st Century workplace, how the demands of globalisation impact what students need to know and are able to do, and most importantly, how schools can work to mitigate the level of educational inequity among students.

Participants will also be invited to consider and respond to a range of ‘provocations’ designed to stimulate thought, reflection and discussion within the group. Importantly, it is a program designed to encourage individuals and teams to be comfortable to consider strategies and solutions at both the ‘micro’ and the ‘macro’ level, and to consider to what extent strategies and solutions from the past might no longer serve us well in the future.

Topics:

  • Look Outwards – Learning from International Research, Experience and Evidence: System-based Improvement
  • Avoid ‘cutting and pasting’ from one system to another – Instead, Explore, Understand, Contextualize, then Adapt
  • Debunk Education Myths
  • Find Enduring International Lessons – at the School Level
  • Bring International Lessons into the Classroom
  • Determine Priorities and Strategies to ensure your School continues to meet the challenges of work and life in the 21st century


Program 3

Essential Teaching Techniques to Improve Student Performance and Well-Being
This program focuses directly on lessons for teachers from findings in Domains 3 and 4 of the BSfS program. It focuses on all the key areas identified in the International Evidence Base relating to effective teaching and learning and to the promotion and achievement of at least minimum acceptable levels of student well-being. The content of good and best practice is contextualized specifically in the classroom and uses participants’ as well as other case-study-based experiences to better understand and explain the application of the principles and practices being recommended. Additionally, participants will be encouraged to reflect upon, compare and evaluate their own practices, experiences, conceptions and observations against the material presented.

Participants will be asked to refer to, and draw upon, the information and data contained in their own BSfS School Report, especially for these two domains, to explore in more detail what their survey findings are telling them. Discussion will also focus on the data about levels of agreement both between and within survey respondent groups and how this is interpreted, and what it means for improvement plans and strategies.

A key objective of this program will be to equip participants with an ‘inventory’ of knowledge, understanding and skills that enhances their existing repertoire and tool kit of teaching techniques. Most importantly, we also hope that participants will emerge from the program’s training, experiences, exchanges and interactions with an enhanced sense of confidence and self-efficacy in relation to their performance in their profession.

Topics:

  • Identify the Core and Essential Knowledge, Skills, Understandings and Behaviours of Leading Teachers
  • Understand the Critical Role for Combined Pedagogical Knowledge in addition to Content Knowledge in Successful Teaching
  • Prioritise the Findings of Neuroscience for Education
  • Understand the link between Student Well-being and Academic Success
  • Explore and Understand the Optimal use of Technology to support Effective Student Learning
  • Use Assessment to Maximise the Potential for Student Learning and Development

Program 4

Gaining a Better Understanding of Educational Assessment and How to Deliver Effective and Better Assessment in the Classroom
Assessment of student performance is a core feature of the content of the BSfS program. It is also pivotal and vital to effective teaching and learning. This program explores the nature, purpose and various available forms of educational assessment, commencing with an introduction for participants to both theoretical features and practical application of fundamental assessment principles and techniques – while avoiding overly technical and unnecessary detail that can become off-putting for some participants. The material presented and discussed will inform important distinctions such as ‘summative’ versus ‘formative’ assessment, the difference between ‘assessment of learning’, ‘assessment for learning’ and ‘assessment as learning’, and some of the more commonly encountered forms of measurement scales used in education and elsewhere such as nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio.

For the purposes of broadening the non-expert participant’s knowledge and to contextualise classroom-based assessment, we shall also investigate, for example, not only key concepts such as validity and reliability, but also in more detail important distinctions between different aspects of validity including concurrent validity, predictive validity, construct validity, face validity and content validity. We briefly consider and distinguish between various types of ability and aptitude tests and look at the benefits and constraints of different forms of assessment for different purposes and in different settings. This will include an overview of some important key concepts and terms typically found in assessment and performance reports. This work sets the foundation for what follows. During these intentionally ‘instructional’ sessions the more assessment-expert participants will be invited and encouraged to collaborate with and share their expertise with the less assessment-expert participants during group workshop sessions.

Participants will be invited to explore and interpret, alone and in groups, examples of assessment reports where these terms and concepts are common. The focus will be on building understanding, interpreting and applying their knowledge of assessment to not only reports, but equally to research findings and the use and misuse of assessment data. There will be discussion of recent and unhelpful developments in many countries that are privileging ‘hard data’ and overemphasizing test-based accountability.

Having set the foundations of enhanced knowledge and understanding of the forms, types, examples, elements, uses and misuses of assessment and assessment data, the sessions will focus closely on the implications of this for the classroom teacher. Presentations and discussions will explore the various types of assessment instruments that are available for the teacher to use in the classroom (such as essays, teacher-authored tests, performance tasks, presentations and exhibitions, portfolios of work, observation, journals, peer and self-assessment) and how they can be made to best fit what is being assessed. Participants will be invited and encouraged to reflect on and record the diversity of assessment types they use in class, and how well they might be matching their intended purposes with the ability of the assessment type to meet those purposes. Participants will also be strongly encouraged to share this ‘stocktaking’ task with participants, both from their own and from other schools. Once again, the emphasis in these sessions is entirely on learning, sharing and professional development – not evaluating professional knowledge and performance.

Most importantly, special emphasis will be placed on the value of assessment for and as learning. The value of formative assessment will be conspicuously advocated as one of the most powerful teaching and learning tools in the classroom, and arguably the most effective of all classroom assessment activities. This will be done through referencing the ever-increasing body of evidence, advocated by experts such as Dylan William and the Assessment Reform Group. Discussion will focus on the attributes of formative assessment and what distinguishes quality formative assessment from less-effective formative assessment. The immense value of feed-back will be explored in some detail. This will also be coupled with an examination of research on effective questioning and exercises for participants in formulating questions, questioning strategies and opportunities, and the importance of cultural backgrounds and ethnicity on student behaviour and performance during question and answer sessions in the classroom.

In summary, participants we hope will emerge from this program with an enhanced overall knowledge and understanding of assessment terminology, concepts, processes and applications, risks associated with the misuse of assessment data, but in particular, greater confidence when choosing from a range of possible assessment types to use, and better matching type to task. The most hoped for takeaway is an enhanced appreciation of, and commitment among participants to, the use of formative assessment in their classrooms.

Topics:

  • Understand Educational Assessment
  • Match Assessment Type to Task, Purpose and Validity
  • Explore Features of Assessment Data and Understand Meaning of Data
  • Analyse and Interpret Assessment Data to Reinforce and Enhance Teaching and Learning
  • Ensure the Frequent Use of Formative Assessment in the Classroom
  • Distinguish between Valid and Appropriate Use of Assessment Data compared with Invalid and Inappropriate Use of the Data