Since the early days of the 1990s, the accountability in college education has increasingly become a difficult concern for educational institutions. As the student population increases in number, colleges and universities of higher education need to provide board members and administrators important information, such as performance indicators, empirical values to alumni, state, target students, and outside stakeholders. State commissioners of college and graduate education have developed, in so many ways, information cards that rate universities and colleges based on their rank of performance shown in different categories. Popularity of schools, which media presents as surveys on print or the Internet, based itself on graduation rates, retention rates, academic reputation, and resource. All of these indicators are within the envelope of BSC for education or balanced scorecard for higher education.
Most business people usually see the balanced scorecard as a useful strategic management approach for the commercial industry. Now, business experts and statisticians are developing and enhancing it as a useful assessment tool for educational institutions. The balanced scorecard of colleges and universities are no different from that found in most commercial businesses. However, the measurement units or the performance indicators are more specific. Performance indicators can give substantive reports for tactical decision-making. Another notable significance of education BSC indicators is the difference between the uses of indicators for externally- and internally-driven assessments.
There are two sides when measuring the performance of colleges and universities. In the audience category, externally-driven indicators may include consumers such as students and parents, governing bodies like agencies, accrediting companies, or legislators, or revenue generators like alumni, foundations, and donors. Internally-driven indicators for the audience may include the faculty, academic administrators, and non-academic administrators. In the area of concerns, there is also a gap. As with its external indicators, the balance scorecard must measure the undergraduate education and the image management. As with its internal indicators, the BSC must measure the organization agenda of the body and the priority on resource allocation.
The comparison of internal and external indicators in assessing a higher educational institution does not end with the audience and the concerns. It also covers on focus and format. The external drivers in the area of focus may include influence, choice, and audience relevance. The internal drivers for the focus category may include influence and political coalitions. As with the format, the external drivers may include report cards, rankings, and indices while the internal drivers include faculty committee and institutional reports.
Although the indicators used in assessing the performance are somehow complex, authors and pioneers of the balanced scorecard system suggest four sections that companies should look into. These four areas are financial, internal and commercial processes, learning and innovation, and customer. A very common question that administrators often ask regarding financial matters is how the school appears to the stakeholders.
In addition to the four sections of focus, schools should consider five organizational areas when realizing and measuring the achievement of vision. These are academic excellence, student learning experience, diversity, engagement and outreach, and resource management. The BSC for education gives integrated perspective on targets, goals, and measures of progress. This is precisely why the school must always consider these important areas.
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