We need a tool that assists in understanding systemic success or failure. That helps makes sense of the interactions in the system that allow us to find improvement all over the organization that can contribute to gains for student learning.
The balanced scorecard is a strategic planning and management tool that is used extensively in business and industry, government, and nonprofit organizations worldwide to align activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organization performance against strategic goals. It was originated by Drs. Robert Kaplan (Harvard Business School) and David Norton as a performance measurement framework that added strategic non-financial performance measures to traditional financial metrics to give managers and executives a more balanced view of organizational performance. The balanced scorecard is a management tool (not only a measurement system) that enables organizations to clarify their vision and strategy and translate them into action. It provides feedback around both the internal business processes and external outcomes in order to continuously improve strategic performance and results. When fully deployed, the balanced scorecard transforms strategic planning from an academic exercise into the nerve center of an enterprise.
The Balanced Scorecard is developed from a strategy map, which is a visual description of the organizations strategy for success. Below is the strategy map for Adams 14, a school district near Denver, CO. The actual Balanced Scorecard is a set of measures, targets, and results that are used to monitor the implementation and success of this strategy. The Adams 14 Balanced Scorecard is below the strategy map.