Working with Independent School Review
Introduction and overview of Independent School Review features The options and benefits of scoring management practice
Help, advice and guidance Managing performance using balanced scorecard principles
The self-evaluation structure Outputs from the Balanced Scorecard feature
Department self-evaluation and improvement Strategic analysis using S.W.O.T. principles
Collated self-evaluation and improvement options at school level


Managing school performance using balanced scorecard principles

The purpose of the Balanced Scorecard feature in Independent School Review is to provide a management tool to improve the performance management of the School. This feature has the option of being used as an appraisal tool for staff.

The Balanced Scorecard management principles were introduced by Professors Kaplan and Norton in the US in 1996 since which time they have become used, extensively, in both the public and private sectors of the UK. The universal attraction is the visual use of 'traffic lights' to assess performance against target for key performance indicators.

The Scorecard feature in Independent School Review is a separate Scorecard program which enables the performance of the school, as a whole, to be assessed and monitored. In the Scorecard program improvement action points and plans can be defined and monitored, separately, with a range of report documents being available.

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The Scorecard program is located within the ISR program and is accessed by clicking the Scorecard button on the QuickStart screen Alternatively the Scorecard for Independent School Review program can be accessed by clicking the Scorecard button at the bottom of the scoring screens for the quality statements (issues) Observe has a separate User Guide in .pdf format, its own Quick Tutorials and its own Help files in traditional format.

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An alternative is to download Independent School Review 3.4 and evaluate the scorecard feature. Right click here to download a rapid evaluation process for the scorecard feature in .pdf format


To view the features of scorecard open the illustration file for a typical school:

  • within scorecard go to 'File > Open', select the Illustration Scorecard School.ads file and click Open.

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The first scorecard screen lists typical key objectives for an Independent School. There are 6 appropriate perspectives in the illustration file. These can be customised to reflect the objectives of the School, Departments or Individuals

The drop down box at the top of the screen accesses the 6 perspectives.

Independent School Review provides a scorecard templates for users to customise and create templates for their school.


Click 'Performance' at the bottom of the screen to move to the performance screen. This screen holds information on performance and targets for each key objective.

The top two boxes provide navigation between the key objectives. There is then space to record the measures used to record the performance of the key objective and to record the current performance of the school.

Space is also provided to set current 'traffic light' targets for each key objective against which performance can be measured.

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The lower section of the Performance screen enables the 'traffic light' performance to be recorded for each key objective at regular intervals, say termly. The measurement frequency settings can be customised, go to 'Options' on the menubar.

Space is provided to record the Evidence source for the performance decision, Areas for Improvement and Notes on performance.

Click the Action button to access the feature to record action points.


For many key objectives, measuring performance will require reference to the school's Management Information System (M.I.S). The M.I.S. button within Scorecard can be customised to access the M.I.S of the School using 'Options' on the menubar. This will then provide access to the School's management information at the click of a mouse.

If the School's management information is in a number of locations the M.I.S. button should be set to access an intermediate index page with a number of hyperlinks which will provide access to all parts of the School's M.I.S.

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Click 'View Scores' at the bottom of the screen to view the 'traffic light' performance for all the key objectives for the last 4 periods.

This screen is seen as a very effective way of indicating performance against target with trends. It is one of the major reasons why the Balanced Scorecard management technique has proven so popular.


Our recommendations in using Scorecard to manage the performance of the School are as follows:
  1. Carefully define a key objectives template for the School as a whole customising the template that is provided, or customising a Scorecard template used by another School.
  2. Carefully debate with the senior team the 'traffic light' targets for the key objectives and ensure that all appropriate managers are aware of these targets.
  3. Review and record performance at least annually, possibly termly.
  4. If Scorecard is to be used for departments carefully define a template for Departments in your School by removing the key objectives in the School template which do not apply to Departments and encourage Department Heads to agree 'traffic light' targets that reflect the planned improvements in performance for the school. In boarding schools there could be a scorecard template for houses.
  5. If appropriate define a template for groups of individuals, e.g. academic staff or Department Heads. These templates to be used for individual performance appraisal.


For product background details, prices etc. go to the website product page. Click here to download Independent School Review 3.4 and here to access a rapid software evaluation routine in .pdf format for school performance management