Working with College Review
Overview of College Review features The self-assessment structure
Managing performance using balanced scorecard principles Gathering self-assessment information
Outputs from the Balanced Scorecard feature Self-assessment report outputs and improvement management
Strategic analysis using S.W.O.T. principles The options and benefits of scoring management practice

Gathering self-assessment information

College Review provides a number of options for identifying and recording information that is relevant to self-assessment. This information may start with course team reviews which then provides information for the annual self-assessment return to the LSC. The self-assessment framework can also be used to provide input to an Every Child Matters Joint Area Review or preparation for a Quality Standard inspection.

The focus of the information gathered by College Review is qualitative, not quantitative. It is designed to complement quantitative data provided from a College's management information system.

Information that is comprehensively gathered through self-assessment, on an annual basis, can form the basis of the best possible medium term improvement plan.

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An important option in gathering self-assessment information is tom use one of the 15 hard copy workbooks in College Review. The workbook range provides relevant quality statements for the College, academic or service departments, course teams, management only issues or Governors. There are also workbooks setting out the quality statements for each quality standard with their related quality statements.

These workbooks can be accessed either by clicking the Text button on the QuickStart screen or by clicking Help>View Workbooks on the main menu bar. They are in MS Word format and can be used by individuals, or teams outside the College Review software.

The workbooks, which group the quality statements together for more speedy self-assessment, can be used for self-assessment at College, Department or Course Team level. If appropriate the workbooks can be used as a report document with self-evaluation information being available for upward collation.

The illustrated workbook shows how the quality statements are grouped together. All the workbooks are in MS Word table format and users can type 'notepad' information into the appropriate boxes. There is space at the start of each group of quality statements and for the section as a whole for the author to add narrative for each group of quality statements and the section.

As previously stated it is possible to use the workbooks at course team level for course team reviews also using the workbooks to provide self-assessment information for upward collation purposes.

The Import Notepad Text feature on the File menu can be used to transfer text entered into workbooks directly into a software file at the click of a mouse. Using the workbooks provides significant efficiency in gathering and collating self-evaluation information.

In the College Review software the self-assessment information is entered in, or transferred to, the Notepad feature for each of the 99 quality statements. This feature, which can be described as a magic filing cabinet, is accessed by clicking the Notepad button on the issue (quality statement) scoring screen. The notepad has four text boxes which mirror thre text boxes in the workbooks.

  • strengths;
  • supporting evidence to justify the strengths that are stated;
  • improvements achieved in the last 6 months (which is specifically required by LSCs);
  • areas for further improvement.

The Management Information System button on the issue scoring screen can be linked to the College's information systems to provide access to relevant quantitative data.

An alternative option to using the workbooks is to gather self-assessment information through group workshops at an appropriate level.

A facilitator can use a projector to go through the quality statements in turn and lead discussion to identify Notepad information and a score for each quality statement.

An assistant can enter the notepad information and record the score for each quality statement to the computer file.

Inevitably general self-evaluation will concentrate on the effectiveness of the College's education process and may not pick up detailed points of self-evaluation that impact on the criteria of specific quality standards. e.g. Matris, Charter Mark or Investors in People.

If the self-evaluation information is to be used to identify whether a specific quality standard, other than the CIF standard, is met it is recommended that one, or more, focus groups meet to go through the quality criteria requirements of the standard under review to identify if there is any additional, relevant self evaluation information. A print-out of self-evaluation information gathered to date may be useful - see self-evaluation report outputs

A workbook for each Quality Standard sets out the detailed criteria for the standard and space is provided to type in Notepad information against each assessment indicator. The relevant issues (quality statements) for each indicator are listed and if those relevant to the notepad text are noted by an asterisk, the Import Notepad Text feature will automatically transfer this text from the workbook to the identified quality statements in the central self-evaluation file.

Whilst self-assessment information may be required, as gathered, for use at Department level there will be the need to bring this information together into one, or more, central self-assessment files.

The File menu provides features to:

  • transfer text, e.g. Notepad or action plan text, from one self-assessment file to another. When Notepad text is transferred there is the option to add the text to existing text;
  • import Notepad text from workbooks with this text being added to any existing text. This enables self-assessment data from Governors, for example, to be imported, collated and edited before inclusion in the main self-assessment file.
  • import SAR Points from scorecard files which might be directly from Course Teams, or as collated and summarised at Department level.