- Our menu of services includes developmental evaluation, impact assessment, evaluability assessment, implementation evaluation, performance monitoring, and indicator assessment.
- Our methods include the use of focus groups, interviews, online surveys, (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, document reviews, and use of organizational report cards (e.g. Balanced Scorecard).
- Methods include qualitative and quantitative analysis, including univariate, and multivariate statistical analyses, and data visualization strategies.
Ohio Balanced Scorecard Case Study
At the request of the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Office of Exceptional Children (OEC) Special Education Director, SIG staff began work in focused on strategic planning and performance measurement. The purpose of this effort was to help create an organizational mission with the ODE team. To conduct this work, SIG used strategies learned as a result of having undergone extensive training through the Balanced Scorecard Institute. This work coincided with the U. S. Department of Education’s Results Driven Accountability (RDA) initiative for monitoring states’ implementation of IDEA 2004 through its Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). As such, these activities were aimed at placing OEC in a position to incorporate this approach in their planning and helped prepare them for meeting the new federal requirements.
The work with ODE involved both face-to-face facilitated sessions, asynchronous sharing of documents, and teleconference communications. The process included reviewing existing materials and providing feedback on how or if these could be incorporated into the overall strategic planning and performance measurement process using the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). Through the on-site sessions and document sharing, Ohio OEC refined their organizational vision and mission, articulated core values, developed strategic objectives with corresponding performance measures, and prioritized initiatives to lead them to their identified strategic results.
Issues and Challenges
With the announcement of the RDA initiative, many State Education Agencies have come to realize the need to restructure their systems to meet the demands of federal accountability requirements. With an emphasis on demonstrating results as well as compliance, SEAs that staff must acquire entirely new skill sets. These is a growing recognition among research and policymakers that SEAs are being required to performed tasks that their staffs were never asked to do—simply put, they currently lack the expertise and organizational infrastructure needed to do what is required by the RDA. The traditional role of the SEA, such as conducting monitoring activities, setting policy, enforcing regulations, and distributing funds, represents of a major shift in the way SEA staff do their work.
Research has shown that the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach has a positive impact on organizational performance. In this case, the BSC was employed to improve the integration of ODE’s management processes and empowering staff. Research have empirically found that the results of BSC are of three basic types: (1) that it represents a better translation of the strategy into operational terms, (2) it is based on the premise that strategizing is a continuous process, and (3) it results in greater alignment of various processes, services, competencies and units of an organization. All of these are necessary prerequisites to the development of a system that is able to meet the demands of the new RDA requirements.
How Your Services Helped
One critical aspect of the Balanced Scorecard approach that was a good fit with the Ohio OEC context as was the emphasis on having staff involved in developing the strategic direction, measures, and evaluation. The SEA Director’s leadership style was clearly not one of dictating direction and values, but rather empowering staff to work together to lay the foundation and move forward as a team. The work of the SIG staff using the BSC approach helped to facilitate this outcomes. Currently, his work is now being incorporated into their organizational structure and guiding their work at the state, regional, and local levels. The end results will be better services to students and families, more strategic partnerships, and effective use of funds.