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The Balanced Scorecard: A Systemic Model for Evaluation and Assessment of Learning Outcomes?

by Tom Bielavitz
Evidence Based Library & Information Practice ()

Abstract

Objective -- The goal of this paper is to explore using Kaplan and Norton's balanced scorecard methodology as a systemic model for outcomes assessment. The expectations of academic accrediting agencies have shifted from measurement of inputs and outputs to that of the library's impact on learning and demonstrating accountability. Recent literature has presented methods for performing specific aspects of outcomes assessment. However, the scorecard methodology may provide a systemic advantage beneficial to library administrators and managers. Methods -- This paper provides a selective review of outcomes assessment in academic libraries and a description of the balanced scorecard methodology, focusing on its relevance to assessment and demonstration of accountability. Results -- A theoretical scenario is outlined, including examples of a scorecard used for outcomes assessment. For each example, the benefits of using a systemic approach are examined. Conclusions -- Using a systems-thinking approach to outcomes assessment may provide significant advantages to library administrators and managers. As the model includes traditional methods of outcomes assessment, the scorecard approach adds elements of process improvement, identification of the inputs and outputs that create outcomes, and a tool for communicating accountability for resources.

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