We have an ever-repeating discussion about scorecards, for example in schools, but why is this discussion about for and against scorecards? There is little doubt that it is necessary to steer towards goals, and to follow these up, but that does not mean that one should sit in the capital and engage in detailed control of individuals, schools or regions. This is a bureaucracy based on obsolete command and control that does not produce effect.
The national need for control consists of controlling key figures for the nation. These are comparable to results from PISA, for example, and are useful for national political leadership to provide support to school authorities and school leaders.
Such a measurement may, for example, be based on a couple of national tests, but these should be anonymous without specifying how the individual pupil, school or region is performing. Such a detailed control of schools and pupils does not provide any intrinsic motivation for better performance for either the pupils or the schools, it creates a variety of losers, it contributes to bureaucracy and a lot of use of force to prepare students for tests and even cheating both at the personal and school level. Central authorities do not need to control what individuals and schools perform; their responsibility is to follow developments in society as a whole.
Local school measurements
The individual school may advantageously use samples to follow its own development. They must assess what to measure. Central authorities can of course ask schools to do this. They can follow up school results through ongoing communication with school management and support them in achieving their goals. All organizations should work on continuous improvement, they should choose which topics they need to develop on and what challenges they have, of course with the national KPIs in mind, although they should not necessarily use these as targets. By improving individual schools and achieving local goals where they have challenges, this will be their contribution to achieving and improving national goals.
Here too, the tests can be anonymous. It is the overall development that is important to work with and improve. By punishing or rewarding individuals, we achieve losers who fall out of school, we achieve that many try to cheat, and then of course we get someone who succeeds, the same students who would do well anyway.
Scorecards are important in modern management, but it is the individual, or the individual team, who must set goals and follow up results. In order to achieve inner motivation and do the utmost to achieve a goal, one must own the goal. The idea that someone can set goals for others and control them to good results, or scare them into higher performance, must almost be characterized as banal wish-thinking based on obsolete command and control thinking.
Dagsnytt 18 17.07.2010