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SHORT DESCRIPTIONS

2002. december 3.
SHORT DESCRIPTIONS OF THE METHODS RECOMMENDED FOR APPLICATION IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INSTITUTIONAL MODEL I AND II OF THE COMENIUS 2000 QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME FOR SCHOOL EDUCATION

SHORT DESCRIPTIONS

OF THE METHODS RECOMMENDED

FOR APPLICATION IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF

THE INSTITUTIONAL MODEL I AND II

OF

THE COMENIUS 2000

QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME FOR SCHOOL EDUCATION





MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

Budapest, 2001




Table of Contents








INTRODUCTION



The Ministry of Education recommends quality improvement techniques and methodological guidance materials in relation with the different workplan phases of the Institutional Model I and II of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education, with the aim to facilitate the launching and successful implementation of the introduction process in the public education institutions.

The inventory of the recommended methodological guidance materials is continuously increasing: newer and newer methods will be included in the Appendix of the Quality Improvement Manual, also adding to them case studies, which are based on the experiences of the institutions and consultants participating in the implementation of the Institutional Model I and II.



The short descriptions of the methodological guidance materials can be found in the Quality Improvement Manual. However, the detailed description of the methodological guidance materials and tools, as well as the case studies of the institutions are distributed by the Ministry of Education on CD ROM and on its web-site. As the implementation of the Institutional Models is progressing, more and more practical experiences are collected on the applicability of the different methods. The authors continuously improve the methods by incorporating the experiences gained, which means that on the CD ROM and the website always an updated version of the full collection of methods will be available.



The short versions of the methodological guidance materials are intended to show the relation of the recommended method to the workplan phases of the Institutional Model I and / or II, and to provide information on the use and the experiences gained on the application of the given method as well as on the critical points and resource demand of its application. The CD ROM (and the website of the Ministry of Education) also contain tools, case examples and case studies in relation with the described methods, and provide a step by step description of what is to be done by the teaching staff when selecting the recommended method, namely, how to avoid the unforeseeable difficulties, what preparatory steps are to be planned, and what specific outcomes may be expected from the application of the given method.

Through making a short description of the methodological guidance materials available, the Ministry of Education intends to give help to the users so that the methodological guidance materials both on the CD ROM, which is continuously published as part of the Quality Improvement Manual, and the website can easily be used in practice. The short descriptions, of course, do not substitute the detailed descriptions of the methods. That is, in case a method after demonstration proves to be suitable for finding a solution to a certain work phase or problem, the study of the detailed methodological guidance material(s), either on CD ROM or on the website, cannot be avoided. The structure of the CD ROM and the website follows the steps of the Institutional Model I and II, thus giving assistance to the user in selecting the most appropriate methodological help for the implementation of the actual workplan phase from among the classical quality improvement methods currently available and the methods adapted to and specially developed for the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education.



The methodological guidance materials presented here have been prepared by the consultants and public education institutions who themselves are actively involved in the implementation process of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Models. As a consequence, we often find that different authors apply different approaches or methods for the implementation of the individual work phases. For that reason, selection of the methodological guidance materials and approaches as well as the adaptation of case examples is up to the user. When adapting a method or a tool, it is advisable to consider the local specialities of the institution and the results achieved so far in the course of model implementation.



The intention of the Ministry of Education is to continually increase and enrich the inventory of case studies and methodological guidance materials through the experiences of the public education institutions and consultants participating in the Programme.

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DATA PROCESSING TECHNIQUES



by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material is to provide help to the teaching staff in processing and interpreting the data collected through a questionnaire- based survey. By using the presented procedures, the satisfaction indicators and expectations of the different stakeholders (partners) can be explored and compared within the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education, furthermore, their analysis in groups can also be performed. Collecting data by questionnaires is a common phenomenon in schools. After professional examination and data processing, results are displayed in tables that are a source of help in planning the next tasks. When results are jointly explored and evaluated, the teaching staff considers the entire investigation much more of their own than otherwise. The recommended methods outlined below intend to give assistance in how to involve the entire teaching staff into data processing and the interpretation process of the results.



Application potentials, scope of the method

It is advisable to carry out data processing in groups whenever it is a comprehensive (institution level) survey affecting most of the employees, and the test results are expected to have a direct impact on the future work of the teaching staff. This method can be used effectively in particular when the objective is to compare the opinions of several groups concerned. In a case like that, groups carrying out data processing can simulate the target groups under examination.



Short description of the method

The groups created from members of the teaching staff should process the opinions, collected by questionnaires, of the three most significant partners (parents, students, employees). The focal point of the method is the professional communication carried out in small groups, the structured exercises only provide a guideline. The line of the discussion on how to interpret the tables containing the results is maintained, and at the same time, methodologically controlled by the tasks assigned to the group. Data processing is controlled by one of the colleagues prepared for this task in advance. During the exercise, the teachers familiarise themselves with some basic concepts of measurements and methodology and have a try with a diagram to see how graphic presentation can assist the exploration of relations and tendencies. When the comparison of the demands and expectations of the three target groups is completed, individual quality objectives of the given school can also be identified. The evaluation of the questionnaires consists of two, distinct series of steps. One is the preparatory phase and the second is the actual data analysis jointly with the teaching staff.



1. The steps of the preparatory phase are:

  1. Preliminary "tuning" of the teaching staff for the joint work

  2. Fixing processing methods and aspects

  3. Preparation of a scenario



2. Tasks of the teaching staff forum include:

  1. Clarification of concepts included in the tables of data

  2. Group work in three groups for the analysis of the data contained in the school summary tables

  3. Joint interpretation and evaluation of the similarities and differences

  4. Group work for identifying the correlation between the data of class tables

  5. Conclusions, summary



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

The critical point of the method is the preparatory phase. Application of this method can only be recommended when a suitable person is available from the teaching staff, or from outside, who is able to prepare, in a prudential and professionally appropriate manner, the teaching staff forum. Difficulty may also arise from not being used to group work. Many conflicts can be avoided, or treated, if the leader of the discussion is an employee who has experience in conducting group work. Acceptance of the adventure can be promoted by creating favourable external circumstances to work. Good "timing" is of utmost importance. Less than ten persons should be included in one group. The creation of the ideal small groups of 5-6 persons is not always feasible, yet the number of persons in one group should not be allowed to increase too much, or some members will unavoidably be pushed to the background and excluded from group work. It may be expected that some groups will start analysing the tables with a lot of information, right after having them in hand, as they consider it right. Deviation from the preliminary schedule is not a problem in itself, but the tasks set must be fulfilled. Maintaining a definite line of the discussion is a recurring challenge for the person leading the discussion. Experience frequently shows that teachers tend to start a profound investigation of causes and the exploration of facts as early as in the initial phase of data analysis. Their attention must be called to the fact, that later on - having more suitable methods then (such as the Ishikawa /fishbone/ diagram, and the Pareto principle) - they will have a chance for the proper exploration and illustration of the cause-effect interrelation.



Resources required by the method

The time demand of the method is relatively high. The person having experience in data analysis and responsible for conducting the processing will need about 10-15 hours' for preparation, and the teaching staff forum also requires about 3-4 hours. With respect to material preconditions, the non-negligible quantity of materials prepared for group work and the (overhead) projector necessary for efficient interpretation will have to be considered.

The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Data Processing Techniques". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD also presents case examples that will support the in-practice application of the method. Besides, the CD ROM also contains five appendices: Average Figures of Questionnaires for Schoolchildren at School; Scenario for Data Analysis; Summary Table for Sub-Scale Ranks; Student-Parent Satisfaction Diagram; Sub-Scale Values in the Different Classes.

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SAMPLING PROCEDURES



by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material titled Sampling Procedures is to provide information to the public education institutions working on the development of a quality assurance system on the sampling procedures applicable in particular in questionnaire-based surveys. In the model description of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model I, it gives help in surveying the partners' demands and expectations. A basic question of sampling is how to select a relatively limited number of individuals from a large number base population in such a way that, by surveying them, we will be able to make statements relevant for the entire population.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

Sampling procedures are used not only in social sciences, but, among others, by biologists, etologists, research doctors, engineers, physicists when the population to be surveyed consists of elements of such a high number that a full scale survey covering all individuals is not possible as it would require irrationally long time, senseless amount of resources, and would be unaffordably expensive.



Short description of the method

The two fundamental principles of sampling, being supplementary to each other, are as follows:

All elements, every single member of the population must have an equal chance to be included in the sample. With determined preciseness, the sample must reflect the characteristics, composition and variability of the base population in accordance with the aspects surveyed. The description of the method gives the detailed requirements of the following sampling procedures:

  1. simple random selection,

  2. gradual sampling,

  3. stratified / layered sampling.



The description of the method also provides help in determining the sample size, in weighting the sample and eliminating sampling errors.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

With respect to sampling and determining the size of the sample, the above can be summarised as follows: Prior to determining the size of the sample, the person in charge of the survey should clarify what the results will be used for, how detailed analysis is to be conducted with the data, what preciseness is required both for the sub-samples and the total results. As the next step, all relevant information available on the population should be collected. By analysing this information, it should be determined to what extent the population under survey is heterogeneous or homogenous. Finally, the necessary sample size can only be determined with a view to the budget available, and with consideration to all the above.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Sampling Procedures". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. In the Appendix, the user can find the description of the sampling error.

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PERSONAL INTERVIEWS

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

This methodological guidance material titled Personal Interviews gives guidelines on how to prepare, administer and process interviews. It is a tool, that enables us to become acquainted with the opinions of the stakeholders (partners) within the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. This methodological guidance material is suitable for a comprehensive assessment of the situation prior to launching the quality assurance process. It serves to provide us a picture concerning the opinion of the partners on the expectations and demands, as well as on the rate of satisfaction in the institution.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

The institution, after having identified its partners and determined the circle of those whose demands and expectations it intends to consider, may collect information on the expectations and satisfaction of the stakeholders in a number of ways. The most frequently used techniques are questionnaire-based surveys and interviewing. It is worth choosing the latter when the institution decides on interviewing only a few persons from the stakeholder groups and will generalise their opinions. This is feasible only when the fundamental principles applicable to sample selection are not harmed. In that way already in the initial phase of the quality improvement process, a reliable picture can be attained on the satisfaction of our partners, the areas to be improved, and the recurring interviews allow us to assess and evaluate the changes.



Short description of the method

With the help of the interview plan included on the CD ROM, a list of questions going into the in-depth details can be prepared that the persons concerned would give a verbal answer to during the interview. An analysis of the recorded answers, and the information derived from that, gives a picture on the institution's current situation, actual conditions, and the satisfaction of its partners. These opinions can be compared with each other, or with some other information collected in a different way. When it is a smaller institution, a parents' group, a pupils' / children's group, or the pupils of a school class, it is possible to conduct a group interview, which is in fact a structured discussion along the interview questions. The phases of the method can be summarised in a simplified way as follows:

  1. Review of questions, circles of questions of data collection tools, collection of areas concerned,

  2. Ranking management interview areas for order of importance,

  3. Two-way analysis of areas designated for comparison,

  4. Comparison of assumptions and survey results.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

A key to successful application of the method is that it should have something in common with the data received from self-assessment and the data obtained by the tools that are used to explore the satisfaction and expectations of the partners.



Resources required by the method

The primary requirement of the method is analysing activity to be carried out on individual basis. The knowledge of one or two mathematical-statistical concepts, and the practical application of their calculation method may also be necessary. IT support is also required. The number of expected working hours is about 10. Copying demand may be satisfied by printing out tables in a few copies.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Personal Interviews". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. Besides it also contains the descriptions of specific circle of issues for the parents, pupils and teachers.

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FOCUS GROUP SURVEY

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

This methodological guidance material gives a pattern on how to effectively collect opinions on a subject matter in a group established for the discussion of a given subject. This method may be recommended for use in the exploration of the expectations and satisfaction of the different groups, after identification of the typical groups of the partners concerned, within the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. The focus group survey is a group procedure, adopted from market research practice (expressly used for obtaining information), that is used to create a small group of 6-12 persons from the members of a definite target group, who, under the leadership of a moderator, discuss the given subject in a seemingly informal manner. It is not an objective of the focus group to make decisions or to create consensus in the group. The purpose of the focus group is expressly to obtain information, that is, cognition and research. From that aspect, it could just as well be an alternative to questionnaire-based surveys.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

This method may play a role in the quality assurance process in the determination of the objectives, the elaboration of the action plans and the establishment of preferences among the objectives. It may also be used as a useful tool in the discussion on the results in the last phase of the quality assurance cycle.



Short description of the method

The basic idea of the focus group is that 6-12 persons selected on the basis of pre-determined criteria informally exchange their experiences. They discuss the issues raised by the moderator and become familiar with each other's way of thinking and opinion. The informal nature of the discussion enhances communication between the participants, although it is only seemingly informal. The moderator keeps the discussion in the group along a certain guideline and prevents spontaneous deviation from the subject matter. It is advisable to record the discussion of the focus group by tape recorder or by video camera to ensure the detailed analysis at a later point of time. When planning the focus group, it is advised to distinguish between the structural, content, and group process related elements. The phases of the group process can be summarised in a simplified manner as follows:

  1. Creation of the group

  2. Delegation of power and leadership

  3. Regulation

  4. Carrying out the focus group survey

  5. Closing group work



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points



Advantages of the focus group survey include:

  1. The group situation (where everybody is "in the same boat" and responsibility is divided) is less challenging for a lot of people than personal interviews.

  2. What the participants share with the group may be motivating for others. A group situation intensifies creativity in general. Participants often further develop other participants' ideas, reaching conclusions that would not have occurred to them in a personal interview situation.

  3. The group situation throws spotlight on the differences, allowing the moderator to see the broad scale of attitudes in relation with the given subject.

  4. Group environment, in general, encourages spontaneous responses, reactions. In contrast with the questionnaires, here people answer as they normally do in their daily life. Consequently, attitudes and reactions can be observed in their "unpolished" form.

  5. In a group situation, a moderator can also pay attention to the metacommunication processes (such as gestures, mimics, tone of voice, ironic tenor, etc.) that are utterly lost in a questionnaire-based survey.



Disadvantages of the focus group survey include:

  1. Certain type of people are not encouraged, but rather hindered by the group situation in sincerely expressing their attitudes and convictions.

  2. It may happen that the group gives a negative response to the moderator and the subject raised, the atmosphere becomes fatally "frozen", and the positive group processes cannot be launched.

  3. It may also happen that a strong personality or an aggressive participant in the group, or a group member, who, for some reasons, is considered as an "expert, authority on the subject" by the others, pushes the other participants to the background, who, either withdraw, or simply agree with the "leading personality" without allowing us to get their real attitudes known.

  4. If group members do not receive sufficient support and encouragement of good timing from the moderator, minority positions may be lost. Group members representing minority opinions may become uncertain about whether or not they can express their opinion that differs from that of the others.

  5. Loss of perspective. When the problem or subject discussed in the group becomes over-dimensioned, both the moderator and the group members may lose sight of the direction in the evaluation of the potential solutions and in identifying the improvements. Owing to the group impact, they get so much absorbed in the subject or problem under discussion, that they are unable to view it "from above", or "from the outside".



Resources required by the method

Provision of space and the necessary time to facilitate the undisturbed pursuit of the activity of the group. The role of the moderator with experience in group processes is of outstanding importance. Another tool that is also a requirement is voice or video recording to make subsequent analysis possible. In that case, the time required for the processing of the records should also be taken into account.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Focus Group Survey". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method.

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QUESTIONNAIRE-BASED SURVEY

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material titled Questionnaire-based Survey is to provide assistance to the public education institutions in the preparation of a questionnaire, which harmonises with their demands and opportunities, for the teaching staff in the phase of the open self-assessment. By a questionnaire-based survey, the teaching staff can collect information on the external and internal image of the institution, in particular on the expectations of the employees of the institution as well as on the presumed demands and satisfaction of the external partners.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

Knowledge and experience gathered in the compilation and processing of questionnaires in the phase of open self-assessment can be used on a number of occasions in the quality assurance process whenever there is a need for information collection: when assessing stakeholders' (partners') demands, analysing the situation of given areas, examining changes, and taking stock of satisfaction and results.



Short description of the method

A questionnaire-based survey is commenced by determining both the objective of the survey and the areas to be surveyed. Our recommendation is that after the preparation, filling in and analysis of the questionnaires, the survey findings should be processed by the teaching staff itself. The self-image evolving from the questionnaire survey may encompass areas that we consider important from the aspect of the stakeholders, and the content related findings may also form the basis of a comparison to data taken at a later point of time. In case the survey also covers areas included in the pedagogical programme, the analysis of the system of relations of the (internal and external) image of the institution with the pedagogical programme can also completed. The phases of the method can be summarised in a simplified manner as follows:

  1. Determination of the objective of the survey

  2. Identification of content areas

  3. Compilation of the questionnaire

  4. Filling in the questionnaires

  5. Processing of the questionnaires



Resources required by the method

The compilation of the questionnaires is time demanding and requires significant expertise. The time required for filling in the questionnaires should also be allocated. The preliminary information supply and the evaluation of the results are a few hours' job for the entire staff. The time demand of questionnaire coding and processing depends on the number of the interviewees and the type of the interview. The copying of the questionnaires will also involve some financial costs.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Questionnaire-based Survey". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also contains case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. In the Appendix elaborated, specific examples of the questions can also be found.

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IDENTIFICATION OF PARTNERS

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

This methodological guidance material titled Identification of Partners provides help to the headmaster in planning, organising, and documenting the discussion organised to identify the major partners of the institution. It gives information on the major factors that are worth considering in the selection of the partners. This guidance material is a support to the identification process of the stakeholders (partners) within Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. The objective of this methodological guidance material is to make the management and the employees conscious of the fact that the activity of the institution is a service involving a number of stakeholders and partners. Efforts should be made to get acquainted with the demands, expectations against, and the opinions on, the institution's services, and for that end, the major partners must be identified. The objective is that the institution becomes acquainted with its partners' demands, ripen those demands to become a mature professional mission, get continual information on its fulfilment, and carry out the necessary corrective actions on the basis of the feedback received from the partners. With respect to the consideration of the above, and the selection of the major partners from among the potential ones, the following procedure is recommended.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

The management of the institution establishes a target group for the fulfilment of this task. The "partner group" thus established may have furtherfunctions in the quality improvement process as follows:

  1. to give opinion on the feedback on surveys conducted among partners, and on its publicity.

  2. to test the ideas for improvement, proposed by the internal groups of the staff, among partners.

  3. to collect new ideas, proposals for finding a solution for the problems.



Short description of the method

The management of the institution organises a group discussion with the participation of the potential partners' representatives, where, on the basis of controlled "thinking together", the circle of partners whose opinion is considered as important for the identification of the quality improvement objectives is identified. Beyond the school management, members of the group should come primarily from among the direct partners (parents, pupils, employees) and the representatives of other major partners.



Minutes are kept at the meeting to record the names of the partners, the circle of those that are to be involved in the first round, the way of involvement - even recording the persons being present by their names - furthermore, the method and the time of communicating changes, the documents presenting the results, and other information to the members of the partner group.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

In a harmonising meeting where the participants constitute an entirely new group, perhaps do not even know each other and represent different interests, the efficiency of the meeting may be hindered by a number of difficulties. Let us see some of them:

  1. if we fail to invite the representative of an important partner to a meeting outlined above;

  2. if the leader of discussion is not prepared to answer the expected discussion points with appropriate arguments;

  3. if no assessment was made in advance of the expected conflicts in the discussion on the involvement of partners: e.g. the teachers do not want to ask the pupils' opinion, they express this during the meeting, and both the pupils' representatives being present and the parents think differently.



Resources required by the method

The application of the method requires no significant financial resources; although 6-8 hours' preparation is needed on behalf of the person in charge of leading the discussion. The planned duration of the meeting is 2-3 hours.





The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Identification of Partners". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. The Appendix offers group compositions for the different institution types.

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COMPARATIVE ANALYSES

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

Through this methodological guidance material, our intention is to give examples to the institution management on the identification of similarities and differences of data obtained by (open) self-assessment and survey on parents' expectations as well as on the comparison of presumed and actual priotities. This guidance material presents a procedure suitable for the comparison of partner' demands and the external self-image of the organisation within the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model I. The objective of this methodological guidance material is to provide an exact comparison of the institution 's ideas on parents' expectations with the facts explored by surveying the parents (by interviews, questionnaire). It offers a procedure for the determination of the order of importance, furthermore, by answering the questions "what can we see right, and what are we mistaken in?", it gives help in identifying quality objectives built on our partners' demands.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

It is a technique, which can be applied also in case of other partners as well as data and opinions collected by other methods.



Short description of the method

The procedure starts - in the course of the preparatory steps of the quality improvement process -, with the organisation of the data collected on parents' expectations, and the exploration of extra information. First the answers of the personal interviews by the head used in open self-assessment are examined from the aspect of what they say on parents' expectations. The groups of statements that have been mentioned are weighted by the management group, or by the teaching staff, from the aspect of their presumed importance for parents. The list obtained from the groups is compared with the data obtained from parents' interviews. The common core of statements based on presumptions and actual opinions is highlighted. The issues belonging to this common core are submitted to a two-way analysis, and, by using scales of importance and scales of realisation, the most noteworthy issues are selected. The final results of selection are compared with the data recorded during self-assessment, and both the common and contradictory tendencies are noted. The phases of the method can be summarised in a simplified manner as follows:

  1. Establishing contact

  2. Preparation of interview plan

  3. Making the interviews - individual and group interview

  4. Analysis of data received

  5. Documentation



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

When phrasing the questions, efforts should be made to be straightforward. In case questions are not phrased in a clear-cut manner, misunderstanding may occur, and we shall not have a relevant picture of the opinions on the given subject matter. When making individual or group interviews, the objective of making the interviews and the way they will be used must always be communicated. In spite of all that it may occur that the subjects of the interview (the participants of the discussion) want to meet some sort of expectations they presume should be met, or want to meet the expectations of the interviewer himself. That may be a ground for misunderstanding in the interview making process, and also in the course of analysis as well as when drawing the conclusions. Special attention must be paid to the metacommunicational indications of the persons interviewed. The participants may have an inclination to divert the attention of the group from the subject, side-track the question and start chatting. A frequently occurring problem is that sub-groups, alliances may be formed within the group. This discussion is not a forum for finding solutions for conflicts, therefore it has to be handled by all means (it is time demanding, but often unavoidable). When doing the analysis work, care must be taken to avoid drawing misconclusions, cassette recordings should be listened to and the notes taken should be reviewed several times. When making the interviews, ethic issues may arise that must be paid attention to in order to observe them (e.g.: violation of the personal rights of the interviewees, transfer of questionnaires or audiocassette to third, incompetent persons or persons in state of subordination).





Resources required by the method

The preparation of the interview plan requires about 3 hours. The duration of the individual interview is 1-2 hours, while that of the group interview (10-12 persons) 2-3 hours. For the play back of the interview, review of the notes, and recording the results of the interview at least 3 hours have to be allowed.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Comparative Analyses".

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PLAN FOR INTERVIEWING PARENTS

AND

GUIDE ON SAMPLE SELECTION

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material titled Plan for Interviewing Parents and Guide on Sample Selection is to become acquainted with, and systematic exploration of, the demands and expectations of parents being in contact with the institution, and collection of information on parents' quality-related demands and expectations. It is a self-assessment tool suitable for application in the implementation of the Institutional Model I, work phase "Analysis of demands" of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Program for School Education. To become familiar with the expectations and demands of parents having a prominent role among social partners is of key importance for the quality improvement activity of the institution. Information coming eventually and accidentally from parents is not sufficient to enable us to explore expectations and demands in full. Information collected spontaneously from parents during operation is lost for the most part because they are never summarised and analysed. Thus, systematic recording and documentation of the demands and expectations is not done. And the spontaneously collected information most of the time comes from those who are willing to, and easily communicate their demands and needs. Since parents are interviewed with the help of a previously compiled interview plan, that allows us to compare responses, to analyse them taking the characteristic parents' groups separately, and to interpret them. It is also an objective of the systematic interview that the information collected should be available not only for the teachers being in direct contact with the parents but - in a processed form - also for the teaching staff and the entire personnel. The objective of the interview with parents is to explore the expectations and demands of a decisive social partner by interviewing the parents in contact with the institution or a representative group of parents on the same aspects.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

This method can be used independently of the quality improvement process in all those cases when the institution wants to become better familiar with parents' expectations. For example, when the circle of those using this institution is changed or modified, when the profile, professional programme, or the values of the institution are defined or changed, when the users and the professional programme of the institution are constant, and the objective is to assess the reception of the institution 's activity and the suitability of its programme.



Short description of the method

The essence of the method is the following: a pre-determined circle of parents is interviewed by a pre-determined circle of interviewers - according to an identical plan, and in direct, personal contact - about their demands and expectations concerning the institution. Answers are collected in a pre-planned system, and processed according to previously determined aspects. Method requires the following steps:

1. Definition of, and recording, the objective of the interview with parents.

2. Definition of the major question groups of the interview with parents.

3. Determination of the method and aspects of processing.

4. Recording the interview plan.

5. Conducting a test interview, making the necessary corrections in the interview plan.

6. Definition of the circle of those to be interviewed.

7. Selection and preparation of the interviewers.

8. Organisation of the interview (determining the date and the location, notification of the parents and the interviewers).

9. Conducting the interview.

10. Recording the responses (in case of audio recording the interviews, abstracting and archiving).

11. Processing, interpretation and evaluation of the responses.

12. Drawing the conclusions.





Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

With respect to the application of this method, the most favourable experience is the strengthening of the awareness of partner-focused operation. From among difficulties, the most significant ones are the technical and ethical mistakes committed in the course of processing and interviewing. From the professional aspect, results can be most distorted by careless and imprecise content analysis and improper sample selection. From the ethical aspect, the most frequent and grave problems are making parents responses available to incompetent hands, violating the rules that responses should be unidentifiable, or in more grievous cases, using the responses against pupils.



Resources required by the method

The application of this method is accompanied by significant time demand. Experience shows that the preparation of an interview with parents, recording, processing, making it suitable for interpretation, and archiving may require up to 3-5 hours. Interviewing can be recommended as a tool for collecting parents' demands in case the institution has the necessary resources, and the collection and interpretation of parents' opinions and demands is regarded as a priority area in the quality improvement process.

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PLAN FOR INTERVIEWING PUPILS

AND

GUIDE ON SAMPLE SELECTION



by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material titled Plan for Interviewing Pupils and Guide on Sample Selection is to become acquainted with, and the systematic exploration of, the demands and expectations of pupils being in contact with the institution, and collection of information on pupils' quality-related demands and expectations. This methodological guidance material offers a self-assessment tool within the Institutional Model I, work phase "Analysis of demands", of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. The pupil interview identifies the expectations and demands of a decisive social partner by interviewing pupils who are in direct contact with the institution, or a representative group of them, according to identical aspects. Becoming acquainted with the expectations and demands of pupils, as a group of partners decisive from the aspect of the institution's operation, is of key importance for the quality improvement activity of the institution. Information coming eventually and accidentally from pupils in the course of the institution's daily operation is not sufficient to enable us to explore expectations and demands in full. The spontaneously collected information most of the time comes from those who are willing to, and easily communicate their demands and needs. Information collected from pupils in the course of school life is lost for the most part because they are never summarised and analysed. Thus, systematic recording and documentation of the demands and expectations is not done either, since pupils, or some of the pupils are interviewed with the help of a previously compiled interview plan, that allows us to compare responses, to analyse them taking the characteristic pupils' groups separately, and to interpret them. It is also an objective of the systematic interview that the information collected should be made available not only for the teachers being in direct contact with the pupils, but - in a processed form - also for the teaching staff and the entire personnel.

Application potentials, scope of application of the method

This method can also be used independently of the quality improvement process in all those cases where the institute strives to get a better knowledge of pupils' expectations. For example, when the circle of those using this institution is changed or modified, when the profile, professional programme, or the values of the institution are defined or changed, when the users and the professional programme of the institution are constant, and the objective is to assess the reception of the institution's activity and the suitability of its programme.



Short description of the method

The essence of the method is the following: a pre-determined circle of pupils is interviewed by the interviewers - according to an identical plan, and in direct, personal contact - about their demands and expectations concerning the institution. From the aspect of pupil interview, the precise determination of the circle of students to be interviewed is essential. It is important, on the one hand, because under a certain age, interviewing pupils raises issues that make the application of this method non-advisable in the implementation process of the Institutional Model I. In general, it may be stated, that the application of this method is recommended for secondary schools, or, with a carefully designed interview plan it may be realised in the classes of the general lower secondary schools, too. The previously mentioned methodological problems arise with the age groups younger than that. Careful selection of the interviewees is important, on the other hand, because pupils - of whatever age group they may be - are directly affected by the operation of the institution, moreover, they are in a state of subordination thereto. For that reason, in processing the responses special control procedures and procedures assisting interpretation are to be used in order to get realistic results for quality improvement.

Answers are collected in a pre-designed system, and processed also according to previously determined aspects. Method requires the following steps:

  1. Definition of, and recording, the objective of the interview with pupils.

  2. Definition of the content related areas of the interview with pupils.

  3. Determination of the method and aspects of processing.

  4. Recording the interview plan, determination of interview questions.

  5. Conducting a test interview, making the necessary corrections in the interview plan.

  6. Definition of the circle of those to be interviewed.

  7. Selection and preparation of the interviewers.

  8. Organisation of the interview (determining the date and the location, notification of the parents and the interviewers).

  9. Conducting the interview.

  10. Recording the responses (in case of audio recording the interviews, abstracting and archiving).

  11. Processing, interpretation and evaluation of the responses.

  12. Drawing the conclusions.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

In relation with the application of this method, the most favourable experiences are the dissemination of the approach of partner-focused operation, getting acquainted with the direct opinions on operation, and the demonstration of the fact that the school considers the pupils' opinion on its operation as important. From among difficulties, the most significant ones are the technical and ethical mistakes committed in the course of processing and interviewing. From the professional aspect, results can be most distorted by careless and imprecise content analysis and improper sample selection. From the ethical aspect, the most frequent and grave problems are making pupils' responses available to incompetent hands, violating the rules of anonymity, or in more grievous cases, using the responses against children.



Resources required by the method

The application of the method requires significant amount of time. Experience shows that the preparation of an interview with pupils, recording, processing, making it suitable for interpretation and archiving may require up to 2-3 hours. Interviewing can be recommended as a tool for collecting pupils' demands in case the institution has the necessary resources, and the collection and interpretation of pupils' opinions and demands is regarded as a priority area in the quality improvement process, or in case the institution has few students.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Plan for Interviewing Pupils".

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PLAN FOR INTERVIEWING HEADMASTERS

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material titled Plan for interviewing headmasters is the assessment of the situation by the instituiton's management prior to launching the quality assurance process, with special attention both to the resources as well as the attitudes of the leaders and the teaching staff required for launching the quality assurance process. This method may be recommended for use in the work phases "Open self-assessment", and "Controlled self-assessment" of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model I. Prior to starting the quality assurance process, the headmaster systematically records his knowledge, experiences and information on the teaching staff attitudes, the available resources, and his own personal commitment to quality improvement. The interview with the headmaster is important, in the first place, for the recording and written documentation of the initial state. Furthermore, the application of this method focuses the attention on the tasks that are worth completing by the headmaster prior to, or at the time of starting with quality improvement.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

This method is recommended for application when the quality improvement process is launched. Besides, it is also advisable to answer the interview questions in all those cases when new development, innovation or transformation requiring considerable resources is started. The application of this method is also useful when a change significant for the operation of the institution is to be prepared due to external or internal reasons.



Short description of the method

Most of the questions contained in the detailed description, are open, some are closed, or can be answered with data. The head of the institution answers them in writing. Certain questions are so-called opinion questions that the headmaster answers to the best of his / her knowledge, in accordance with his opinion on his / her colleagues and the operation of the institution. Answering these questions does not require any special preliminary inquiry. After answering the interview questions systematically, it is advisable to review the answers for consistency, supplement any missing data, and depending on its results, prepare a plan of actions to be taken by the head. We should not forget to record the date of answering either.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

This method is built on the own reflexes of the headmaster, therefore to what extent it is realistic and applicable, largely depends on how realistic the headmaster is and to what extent he is making efforts to give answers analytically exploring the institution's actual situation. The latter, of course, is not only a question of commitment, but a question of objective knowledge and preparedness of the headmaster. The critical point of the method is that it asks questions on information in the preparatory, initial phase of the quality improvement process that will be systematically analysed by the organisation in a later process. And that's where the virtue of the method is hidden at the same time: it is recording highly valuable information in the initial phase of quality improvement that can also be utilised when evaluating the efficiency of the improvement process. An example would be, if the headmaster answers the questions again after completing the process.



Resources required by the method

The application of this method does not require considerable time. Experience shows that understanding the interview questions and filling in the responses requires about 3-4 hours. Besides, planning headmaster's tasks may be considered and recorded in 1-2 hours' time.





The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Plan for Interviewing Headmasters". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. Beside the table for recording the attendance data of students, the CD ROM also contains lists of specific questions that are the following: General characteristics of the institution; The management about the expectations and quality; The headmaster about the resources; The headmaster about quality assurance.

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QUESTIONNAIRE FOR SITUATION ASSESSMENT BY THE HEAD

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material Questionnaire for situation assessment by the head is to make a comprehensive assessment of the situation prior to launching the quality improvement process. This method is recommended for use in the Institutional Model I, work phase "Open Self-Assessment", of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. This tool can also be used, in an identical manner, in the implementation of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model II. This method is recommended for the assessment of the actual state of the institution, the exploration of resources, and the preparation for launching the quality assurance process, with special attention to the resources and the attitudes required for the realisation of quality assurance related tasks.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

The application of this method is advisable in all cases when along with the continuous operation of the institution, a new action requiring significant resources is commenced, or when the headmaster is uncertain about how the members of the teaching staff would receive the initiative. The application of this method is also useful when a development requiring significant resources (e.g.: in terms of labour, finances) is completed, or when a change of high significance for the operation of the institution has to be prepared.



Short description of the method

The systematic filling in of the questionnaire to be found in the Appendix of this methodological guidance material and the analysis of the information cropping up during filling it in helps the headmaster to get an overview on the actual state of the institution. In the case of larger institutions, our recommendation is that the questionnaire should be filled in not only by the head of the institution, but also by other members of the management, subsequently to this it is advisable to compare responses and examine deviations. The assessment should be linked with the oral and written information received from the social partners (parents, pupils, teachers). A comparative analysis of certain areas of the questionnaire (differences between the assessment of the situation by the head and the assessment of partners satisfaction) will outline for us the potential improvement areas.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

This questionnaire was originally created for the evaluation of the results of quality improvement. A difficulty inherent in the method is that, due to real or presumed expectations, the headmaster may be expected to distort the assessment of the situation, describing a "nicer picture than the reality", partly due to his / her own, partly due to his / her teaching staff's demand for compliance. This difficulty can be relatively well handled by presenting "best practices", that is, the achievements of those institutions that have been involved in the quality improvement process for shorter or longer time.



Resources required by the method

The application of this method does not require considerable time. Experience shows that understanding and filling in the questionnaire requires about 2-3 hours (when filled in also by other members of the institution's management, of course, time demand is increasing). Depending on the objective of the application and on whether it contains a comparison, processing requires 4-7 hours. Attention must also be paid to recording and archiving the results of processing.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Questionnaire for Situation Assessment by the Head". The CD ROM also contains a questionnaire for situation assessment by the head already tested in practice.




PRINCIPLES OF TEAMWORK

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

Employees must be involved in the continuous and conscious improvement of the institutional operation, and provision must be made that beyond the completion of the daily routine tasks they may have a share in the formation of processes that ensure the institution's quality operation. In this methodological guidance material titled Principles of Teamwork, the characteristics of effective teamwork, the composition of an effective team are described, and proposal is given for team development. From the aspect of quality improvement and development, the value of team operation, as a conscious activity and intention aiming at raising the level of organisational culture will be augmented in future. Knowledge on efficient teamwork and the experience based proposals that we provide for the formation and development of successful teams may strengthen this awareness. In the quality improvement process, after the selection of the key areas, the potentials for improvement of the given area are determined and the ways of realisation are planned mostly in teams, in quality circles organised on voluntary basis or on the recommendation of the management.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

The teaching staff as a group is the most decisive factor of school quality. The pupil - whom many of us have impact on, moreover we also impact him as group -, is the same person; together we reinforce the favourable processes of education and teaching. The procedures and techniques learned in the process of teamwork, and personality features and norms developed in the same process can also be well used in education.

Teamwork is at the same time a process of shaping one's views through which members of the team are enabled to better enforce the expectations and demands of persons whom they have an impact on in their work (pupils) and whom they get into contact with (e.g.: parents, colleagues) in their own work performance and the way of thinking about their work.



Short description of the method

Teamwork is a fundamental and general form of activity within the quality improvement process. The realisation of organisational objectives in teamwork makes changes better accepted and more durable, the knowledge and professional experience of persons co-operating in quality improvement is increased, their proposals on quality improvement are more mature, controlled and realistic. Implementation of the proposals - if they were elaborated by those involved in the implementation - is smoother and is better accepted. That is, in the interest of a specific improvement task, the quality improvement process results in conscious team development. When establishing a team, attention must be paid to the general rules of team development and the special procedures applicable to quality circles.

To pursue effective co-operation and efficient work, both knowledge and practical experience on team characteristics, dynamics and development are equally important. With regard to teamwork, this methodological guidance material gives information on the following areas:

  1. Definition of the team, team roles

  2. A possible model of team development

  3. Characteristics of an effectively operating team

  4. Steps of building up a successful team

  5. Operating a quality circle



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

  1. No deadline is defined for the completion of the task undertaken by the quality circle, that is, the duration of team operation is not regulated. As a consequence, work may be prolonged, while, in the meantime, objective and task may be lost.

  2. The team, in its activity, becomes independent of the organisation and fails to involve the others in the preparation of proposals on change affecting the entire organisation.

  3. The team leader does not co-operate with the management, makes himself excessively independent, and the team objectives do not support the organisational objectives to the necessary extent.

  4. Teams operating within an organisation may compete with each other, what is more, even within a team there is competition between the individuals, which has a motivating force. After some time, however, too intensive competition may cause tiredness, exhaustion.

  5. It may happen that the team considers only the successful realisation of a potential idea as a result and they waste a lot of efforts on the realisation of objectives that the persons concerned know they can hardly be attained.

  6. If the members of the team are mainly tied together emotionally, there is a high risk that team development will be controlled by irrational elements. It is worth paying attention to this phenomenon when building up a team; it is better if the members of the team are tied together by good working relations.



Resources required by the method

Resource demand of teams operating in an organisation is highly varied, yet it is important to plan it. The resource demand of quality circles is 2-4 hours per month in general, for a term of 2-10 months depending on the task.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Principles of Teamwork". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in practice application of the method. Besides, the CD also contains the following additional methodological guidance materials: (Meredith Belvin) Table: useful personalities for the team; The "Team member type" questionnaire; Table of scores for the "Team member type" questionnaire; Table of analysis for the "Team member type" questionnaire.

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TREND SURVEY

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this method is systematic data collection, systematisation, and storage, and the follow-up of changes for the purpose of the monitoring and influencing the processes; to provide information to the heads of institutions working on public education quality improvement on how to monitor the processes, on the role of the evaluation of changes in the quality assurance, quality improvement process. By the application of Trend Survey, the safety of decision-making and the analysis of results can be improved.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

In pedagogy, as well as in quality assurance and in most social sciences, the dimension of time is of utmost importance. In every case when we want to monitor processes, especially when we want also to influence processes (in essence, this is what both pedagogy as well as quality assurance is "heading for"), there's an explicit demand also to have data of different time origin comparable to each other. Surveys planned with that purpose are collectively called trend surveys.



Short description of the method

This methodological guidance material demonstrates how to plan and implement the systematic follow-up of change characteristics and change tendencies, and derive changes from accidental or definite causes, or groups of causes, by mathematical- statistical tools and by creating change characteristic indicators. Besides, it also gives a description of the fundamental types of surveys conducted at different points of time:

  1. recurring surveys

  2. periodic surveys

  3. overlap surveys

  4. panel surveys

  5. continual register



After clarifying the statistical fundamentals of trend survey, the next step is the identification of tendencies to be followed by drawing conclusions for the future (forecast) on the basis of the trend survey.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

Many of the critical points of application are dealt with in the detailed description of the method. The most significant of them are premature conclusions and erroneous explanations.



Resources required by the method

The application of this method presumes the participation of an expert / experts having experience in statistical, sampling, and data processing procedures. Besides, it (may) also often require (computer-based) data processing and statistical analysis, depending on the phenomenon surveyed. It is also important to call the attention to the fact that in case of trend survey, the development of a change indicating system highly influences the resource demand.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Trend Survey". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method.

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SWOT ANALYSIS

by: Magyar Gallup Intézet

(Hungarian Gallup Institute)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

By the introduction of the SWOT analysis we recommend a procedure to the institutions' teaching staff through which they can collect the institution's most important characteristics. SWOT analysis is a tool recommended for use to Open self-assessment in the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. This tool can be used in the assessment of the institution's actual situation (SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). The objective of this method is to identify the strengths of the entire institution, or some of its key areas, that is, those components of its operation that it is able to provide on a high level, as well as to explore its weaknesses, that is, those areas that, in the view of the internal and / or external partners do not develop sufficiently or satisfactorily. This method also takes stock of the institution's opportunities and difficulties, and the interrelation thereof, and organises the information available about the institution.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

This method can be applied in the course of self-assessment for analysing the actual situation of the institution. It can also be used in the implementation of the institution's total quality management system for the exploration and recording of the initial state of certain key areas, and also for the assessment of situation prior to implementing changes. This method is also suitable for collecting parents' opinions, and to become acquainted with their expectations.



Short description of the method

The participants of the analysis fill in a table divided into four windows, where in the windows they may enlist the strengths and weaknesses (internal analysis) and the opportunities and threats (external analysis). After collation of the tables filled in by the participants, the most important factors are selected by weighting from among those included in the different fields. It is followed by the exploration of the relationship between the different fields. As a result, it becomes obvious what further opportunities can be explored with the help of the strengths and in which areas they facilitate the prevention of threats; moreover, weaknesses are identified that prevent the exploration of certain opportunities and the elimination of actual threats.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

An advantage offered by SWOT analysis is that it can be applied to the entire institution, and it can be carried out easily and relatively quickly. The implementation of this method does not require any preliminary training. At the same time, conducting the full analysis in a large teaching staff may be a time demanding activity, where it would be difficult to maintain interest and concentration during the full duration of the exercise. In the initial phase of the analysis, participants often doubt the usefulness of the procedure because they believe that they have sufficient information that they know anyway, and no new ones can be added to them.



Certain steps of the analysis can be conducted in groups right from the start where information is collected by way of "brainstorming". In that case, however, some of the participants may be left out of the work, which may result, on the one hand, in information loss, and loss of vigour in interest on the other. That's another reason why it is necessary to involve the broadest possible circle into work, because the more sides and the more views are represented in the mass of information based on experiences and observations, the more reliable is its reality content. Another consequence is that the larger the data set, the more difficult is to process it.



Opinions are many coloured and ramifying, sometimes not quite objective, and for that reason they are difficult to be collated. Especially if they are not weighted, and the significant and less significant observations are considered with equal value. This is why jointly carried out weighting is of outstanding importance.



An advantage of this method is that the analysis may bring elements to surface that have not been so far the declared and / or undertaken values of the institution, yet they may have an important role further on. It is important to compare values, elements, procedures that they become aware of this way, with the institution's documents, especially its pedagogical programme.



Another difficulty may be that in the course of internal analysis - especially when taking stock of the weaknesses - participants tend to collect these characteristics not only of the institution, but, by stepping out of the institution, they phrase the problems of the entire public education. This happens mostly when financing, especially wages are included in the above column. At times like that, care must be taken to drive attention to the matters of the institution.



Resources required by the method

The most important resource requirement is to have sufficient time available. To implement all elements of the described algorithm, half or a full working day is needed at a minimum depending on the extension of the area to be analysed and the number of those participating in the analysis. Further tools also necessary: packaging paper and / or flipchart, felt pens, blackboard, chalk, and the above-indicated tables in the necessary number of copies.



The organisation and steering of the work, the moderation of the analysis, and the preparation of the summation in particular may be the responsibility of one person, who is either an external expert or an employee of the institution e having experience in SWOT analysis.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "SWOT Analysis". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. Besides, the CD ROM contains three tables that allow us to conduct a SWOT analysis.

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IMPORTANCE / COMPLIANCE DIAGRAM

by: Horváth & Dubecz Oktatási Tanácsadó Bt.

(Horváth & Dubecz Educational Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The importance / compliance diagram is a tool to be applied in the work phase "Analysis of demands" within the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. This tool is a help for the institution in the joint evaluation of the large quantity and often different kinds of data received after the analysis of the situation. The objective of the graphic representation is to enable the institution to interpret its compliance with its own preferred values in the light of its partners' opinion. The objective of this method is to give assistance to the institution in identifying its quality improvement objectives and in determining the nursery schools' and schools' preferences. Experience shows that absorption in the details of the improvement work makes the institution inclined to lose sight of compliance with the expectations arising from their programme. Determination of "importance" directs attention on the institution's major values, while the evaluation of "compliance" helps to identify the starting points of the improvement strategy.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

This method can be applied on all levels within public education, and due to its simplicity, it does not require any special expertise or consultant's assistance. The application of this method is recommended primarily in relation with the determination of the action and decision making points when closing the phases of situation assessment.



Short description of the method

The importance / compliance diagram determines the results of self-assessment of the institution in two dimensions: on the one hand, with respect to the values declared by the institution, on the other, with respect to compliance with the expectations that can be derived from the previous values. This in fact means that, as a first step, the values are to be identified that describe the mission of the institution. Then measurement and data collection is to be conducted to see to what extent the institution complies with the given values, one by one, at a given point of time. On the horizontal axis, that can be represented in a column diagram, the values, while on the vertical axis, the compliance index indicated on a 10 degree scale are given. Although providing only relatively rough calculations, this procedure is suitable for measuring a number of values extremely different from each other and their characteristics on the same scale.

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SURVEY OF CHILDREN'S SATISFACTION,

DISSATISFACTION AND EXPECTATIONS

by: Horváth & Dubecz Oktatási Tanácsadó Bt.

(Horváth & Dubecz Educational Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this methodological guidance material is to give teachers a clear picture of what children like and what they don't like in the nursery school. It may be applied in the work phase "Measuring stakeholders' (partners') demands and satisfaction" within the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. The objective of the method is to give the institution information on whether the children are tied with positive or negative emotions to nursery school activities during the time under examination, what are their expectations, desires, and what they would like to do in the nursery school.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

  1. When analysing the values selected by the employees, it is worth examining if children like what the employees consider a value.

  2. Searching for context with areas preferred by children when analysing employees' strengths and weaknesses.

  3. By analysing the survey on parents' satisfaction we receive information on how much parents are aware of their children's expectations, satisfaction, if there's harmony between the two, and between these and the objective of the nursery school's education programme.

  4. Children's satisfaction and dissatisfaction can also be understood as strengths and weaknesses of the work conducted in children's groups - in accordance with the education programme components -, which will focus our attention on the problems both on group and institutional levels.



Short description of the method

The survey consists of two parts. In the first part, children's satisfaction anddissatisfaction are measured. We are informed on which activities - stated in the National Core Programme of Nursery School Education available in all nurseries of the Country - children like or don't like to perform, or like or don't like to take part in the performance of. The activities available for selection are limited by photos, and are regulated. Limitation of selection is done by verbal communication. We find it important, because we want to allow children to name activities, or emotions, affections and events that we have no photos about.



The second part of the survey, closely linked with the first, is an open story. As participants of the story, they may express their desires, and also what they would love to do in the nursery school, and what tools, toys they would love to have.



Resources required by the method

This method does not require any extra human resource capacity. The nursery school teachers working in the group can conduct the survey and fill in the data sheets. The application of this method does not impose any considerable load on the applying institution. The costs of copying the data sheets and the application of photos - or their preparation according to the nursery school's demands - may present costs in the first place.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Survey of Children's Satisfaction". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. The Appendix contains a number of additional methodological guidance materials (e.g.: Individual Data Sheets, a Guide on how to conduct a satisfaction/dissatisfaction survey, Summary sheet for nursery schools, Guide on how to use open stories) that give specific help on how to apply this method.

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QUESTIONNAIRE

FOR SURVEYING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE INSTITUTIONAL CLIMATE

by: Horváth & Dubecz Oktatási Tanácsadó Bt.

(Horváth & Dubecz Educational Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

This questionnaire is suitable to enable the institution to independently assess and evaluate the characteristics of the internal climate in a nursery school or a school. The questionnaire examines the dominant management culture by diagnosing the internal obstacles of operation. The objective of the questionnaire is to identify, as part of the institution's situation assessment, the state of compliance with the demands and expectations of the internal partners. By the applying this method, the management of the institution may receive information on whether the teachers and employees have an identical or different view on the way of operation of the organisation; they may get information on whether the way the employees characterise the operation of the institution is in harmony with the management's idea on the operation of the nursery school or the school. This tool identifies problem groups, and is able to explore obstacles and deficiencies - but it has not as its objective to identify the positive elements of the institutional climate.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

This questionnaire is recommended for use not only in case when there's not exactly identifiable, but definitely felt tension in the institution. Experience shows that even well operating institutions have internal organisational or communicational obstacles. This method is not institution specific, and can be well used with employees assisting in pedagogical work. The application of the questionnaire is not recommended in institutions with a staff less than 10 (here, an interview is a more effective procedure).



Short description of the method

By applying this tool, 12 internal organisational and management related problem circles can be identified in the institution:

  1. Non-appropriate human resource management

  2. Confused organisational structure

  3. Non-appropriate management

  4. Poor qualifications

  5. Low motivation

  6. Low creativity, dynamism

  7. Weak team spirit

  8. Non-appropriate management philosophy

  9. Lack of management development, replacement

  10. Not clear organisational objectives

  11. Unjust remuneration, rewarding

  12. Personal stagnation



This questionnaire contains in fact no questions, but a series of statements, 10 per each problem group, that is, in total 120. The statements, of course, are not given in order by problem circles, but in an order that is not identifiable by the person filling in the questionnaire. Processing is facilitated by summary and code sheets. Data recording and processing is followed by the analysis of the information received that we can find an example of - together with the description of a case - in the Appendix of the detailed methodological guidance material.



Resources required by the method

The resources required by the test largely depend on the number of the interviewees, as it takes relatively long time - that is copying, data recording and processing are proportionately longer - if the test affects a large number of participants. Filling in the questionnaire should not last longer than 30 minutes on an average. We do not recommend to give longer time, because in case they have time to meditate on the answers, we receive less information on the climate and more on what expectations they intend to meet. In the processing, even a person having experience in data recording should have a minute per test, and that way, a larger sample can be recorded in one, one and a half hours' time. The group conducting the survey should have 3-4 hours for the preparation of the evaluation and the analysis. In principle, the task can be imposed on one person (especially if it is an external consultant), but it is always useful if the evaluation is conducted in groups. At least half an hour should be allowed for feedback, which may be presented in one large group, or in groups. For IT processing it is advisable to use computerised data recording.

The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Climate Test Questionnaire, Case Example, Appendices I-III". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents a case study that will support the in-practice application of the method. The Appendix contains the following additional methodological guidance materials: Evaluation of the case study with the help of an Excel table; The findings of the climate test; Statements of the climate test by problem groups. The data sheet of the climate test can be found on CD, under the title "Climate test data sheet".

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COMBINED APPLICATION OF THE SWOT-PEST ANALYSIS

by: Horváth & Dubecz Oktatási Tanácsadó Bt.

(Horváth & Dubecz Educational Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The SWOT analysis is one of the possible methods to be used for the open self-assessment of the institution. SWOT is an initial-word; it comes from the initials of the following English words: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat. These four words represent four aspects that give us help to classify all those information, opinions that are available on the institution, the activities of those working for it, and the efficiency of their work. The PEST analysis allows us to approach opportunities and threats in a more shaded manner. PEST is an initial-word, coming from the initials of the following English words: Politics (policy, local education management), Economy, Society and Technology. The SWOT analysis is a preparation for planning the quality improvement work in a partner-oriented way, in case it helps to identify the areas and processes that may be critical from the aspect of creating or maintaining satisfaction.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

Although a SWOT analysis, or a combined SWOT and PEST analysis is mostly a tool for institutional self-assessment, it can also be used in any phase in the institutional quality improvement cycle for the exploration of any narrower or wider area of the nursery school, or school operation. Data collection is typically done by using "brainstorming" technique, but in practice this procedure can also be used for arranging the data collected by questionnaire- or interview-based technique. It is important that the circle and the persons that we add to a given area should be those that are affected by that process and its results, that are interested in the fulfilment of demands and are able to make evaluating statements on their experiences.



Short description of the method

Let us decide about which smaller or larger area of the institutional operation we would like to learn what the stakeholders (partners) think about it, and exactly from whom we would like to get this information. Let us provide a well-defined time interval (approximately 180 minutes) for an undisturbed meeting. Let us prepare the felt pens and two large sheets of packaging paper that we hang in a place well visible to everybody. Work may be started either by the participants individually collecting their own opinions, or by doing it in small groups (2-5 persons). It depends on how large the number of participants is that we work with, and whether, in our view, the individual or small group discussion may yield more, authentic information about the actual situation. We should bear in mind that in the course of open self-assessment, any nursery school or school related characteristic, be it positive or negative, can be freely taken stock of, without any limitation.



  1. What is, that in the view of the interviewees, we do well, what is more, very well at our school? That is: What is our school good at?

  2. What is that we do not too well, perhaps expressly bad at our school? What is our institution weak in?

  3. Can we see any opportunities of (education) political, economic, social and technical-technological nature outside our school and positive developments independent of the institution that should be used in order to make operation more efficient, perhaps in the interest of searching for new ways and methods?

  4. Can we see any threats of (education) political, social, economic and technical-technological nature, coming from outside the school, a negative phenomenon independent of the institution that may threaten the effciency of the work pursued there, or perhaps may question certain ambitions of our school?



Answers are collected first individually, then in small groups, then on the level of the full circle, and statements of identical content can be merged into one phrase. On the large sheets of packaging paper, the responses of the full circle of the interviewees will be written. After this, by applying weighting, the group (the teaching staff and the head) will decide which is the most important and urgent task, and parallel with this, what can be solved, and approximately how much time will it take?

Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

It is characteristic to the flexibility of the method that when applied, with a little care it can be well adapted to the specific institutional environment, the momentary needs characteristic to the given nursery school or school. In one of the case studies included in the detailed methodological description, an example is presented where the teachers fill in the table individually and submit it before a given deadline. If we mentioned above the hazard of group pressure, here the loss of extra knowledge otherwise generated in the teaching staff may cause information loss. There's also a view that holds that the information collected by different methods (e.g.: questionnaire, interview) are suitable to be arranged in SWOT 1-2 boxes. The SWOT table can be organised in a number of ways: the version given in case description No. 1. can be considered as a variant of the base form given in the Appendix. SWOT analysis can be realised in a number of ways, depending on who the interviewees are. Obviously, it is not proper to just give an empty SWOT table neither to a child nor to a parent. Our recommendation is that they should not even get it into their hands. Instead let us search for some other, more direct procedures, we should find some motivating data collection technique with a lot of illustration for children. (One of the case studies will give an example.) When it's done, we ourselves will arrange the data in the relevant boxes of the table. The following general rule may be underlined: when answering the questions, and filling in the boxes, efforts should be made to make all our evaluating statements as specific and tangible as possible.



Filling in the first two boxes of the SWOT table generally does not cause too much difficulty. But when we use it for the identification of the quality of a specific area or process, we should pay attention to only include data that really cover the areas, activities that we agreed on.



Most difficulties are presented in filling in the Opportunities and Threats boxes. It often happens that we include characteristics in the Opportunities box that should in reality be included among Strengths. The difference is whether it is an internal, institutional feature, or a resource coming from the external environment, yet unexplored, but could be incorporated.



Among Threats, however, we often find internal institutional Weaknesses included, which, in a close sense of the word, really threaten the operation ability of the given process, yet, as internal institutional features, they should be included among Weaknesses. The difference is easy to grasp: let us think about whether the chance to change depends on the institution, its employees, pupils, or we have encountered an objective obstacle, which is independent of us and is influenced by external factors. This seemingly minute momentum may have strategic importance when we want to change an institutional process. Our future image will be utterly different if we can search for the way and manner of change within the organisation in the first place instead of searching for alternatives to combat (or to live together with) some external, objective obstacles. As you may see, in the two cases the field is different, the persons concerned are different, and necessarily different ways, methods for solution are to be searched for.



The PEST analysis gives additional help to interpret the Opportunities and Threats surrounding the institution in their many facets and many dimensions. For this method it is again true that it is not advisable to give it into the hands of the partners with the information organised in a table form, because instead of promoting thinking it would rather scare them, give them a bad feeling. When doing the exercise, a misunderstanding often causes problems, namely that the participating teachers tend to find the institution's positive and negative aspects in children's performance, capabilities, and their abilities to be trained. During the analysis they should instead concentrate on what "we as teachers, and as school" are getting on well with, and what we can solve, or what we are not getting on well with and what we cannot solve.

Sometimes thinking, or brainstorming comes to a halt. In a case like that it may be stimulating to go around, to unpack a concise question (What are we good at? What are we very good at? What are we not enough good at? What are we bad at?). The leader of the procedure (especially if it is an institutional employee and not an external consultant) should be prepared how to respond to employees who are getting personal. It may happen that someone refers to a specific insult, a personal problem just as an example.



Resources required by the method

The SWOT analysis and the combined SWOT-PEST analysis does not require any resources beyond the above-mentioned time, personnel and tool related conditions.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Combined Application of SWOT-PEST Analysis". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method. The Appendix contains the following additional methodological guidance materials: Questions on the exploration of the "Opportunities" dimension of PEST analysis; Questions on the exploration of the "Threats" dimension of PEST analysis.

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HOW TO WORK IN TEAM

by: Qualimed Minőségügyi és Vezetési Tanácsadó Kft.

(Qualimed Quality and Management Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The methodological guidance material titled How to Work in Team can be used by teams operating in the institutions as an effective tool for the improvement of co-operation and development of organisational culture. The description below expressly focuses on the steps of team building as well as development and preparation for teamwork, therefore it is recommended in particular for the heads of the institutions that play a key role in the creation and operation of teams. Since this subject is rather ramifying both in the area of theory and methodology, the technical books referred to in the bibliography provide substantial background information on the components not discussed in this description. In the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education, the bulk of the quality improvement activities are realised through teamwork, therefore this methodological guidance material gives tremendous assistance in the realisation of team building tasks or in finding a solution for any kind of problem through teamwork in the course of program implementation.



Short description of the method

The quality improvement processes are fundamentally built on teamwork. To be able to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of these tasks, familiarity with and application of, principles applicable to teamwork may be of capital importance. With regard to teamwork, this methodological guidance material provides information on the following areas:

1. Description of the method:

  1. Components of team success

  2. Organisational background

  3. Operational conditions



2. Guidelines on how to determine team composition:

  1. Expertise

  2. Sphere of power

  3. Suitability for teamwork

  4. Limitation in the number of team members

  5. Request for participation, participation on voluntary basis, commitment



3. Phases of team development

  1. Orientation phase

  2. Polarisation and internal competition

  3. Consolidation phase

  4. Working phase

  5. Change, transformation



4. Teamwork environment and division of work



5. Conditions to effective teamwork:

  1. Communication

  2. The team leader

  3. Team spirit



6. Aspects to be considered by those participating in teamwork



7. Difficulties, potential conflicts in teamwork



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

Many of the institutions have no tradition in teamwork, for that reason the definition of rules, becoming acquainted with team members, and the clarification of team tasks and sphere of powers takes a lot of time in the initial phase of quality improvement. The head of the institution will have a significant role in the development of the effective teamwork. Provision of continuous support for teamwork constitutes a significant workload for the head in the initial phase. He / she, however, may delegate the improvement tasks to his employees participating in the team that may in turn significantly increase their commitment and sense of responsibility to the work pursued by their organisation. This creates a supporting environment, climate beside the institution's management in which most employees will get an insight into how problems are handled on institution level. Delegation of the head's responsibilities though would not be fortunate, therefore, the determination of the work and specification of tasks of the team must be approved by the head of the institution.



A frequent problem in the initial phase of quality improvement is that teams are created as a response to management instruction, participation is not voluntary, which makes teamwork a lot difficult in the initial phase, and may even halt it. The head is advised to launch quality improvement activity by first finding the motivation tools to make the teams operational, and, as it seems appropriate, to give opportunity for voluntary organisation of the teams.



Employees working in quality improvement teams must have enough time for the fulfilment of their tasks. It is a responsibility of the head to find a way that enables team members to work together, beside daily work, in spite of their varied timetable obligations.



Resources required by the method

The resource requirement of the quality improvement teams can be divided into two parts. The duration of team meetings and the time required for the implementation of the tasks defined there is 1-1.5 hours on average, in function of the size of the task. One team can complete its task in 2-3 months time on an average.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "How to Work in Team". Apart from giving a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also presents case studies that will support the in-practice application of the method.

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THE 7S METHOD

by: Qualitas T & G Kft.

(Qualitas T & G Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The McKinsey's 7S model can be well applied in a number of situations within institutional self-assessment process. This methodological guidance material gives specific help and shows the way of application in the identification of the internal institutional image as part of the open self-assessment. It gives a clear-cut system that allows the organisation - a(n) education / teaching institution - to review its operation, create an image of itself, formulate its vision, and, by comparing its present and future, to define in what areas - strategy, structure, system, style, employees, capabilities and shared values - it desires to make changes, to improve.



The objective of the application of the model is to outline the internal institutional image and its vision. The working method applied allows the concurrent fulfilment of the following:

  1. meeting one of the requirements (internal institutional image, point 1) of the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education;

  2. participants can increase their knowledge of theory and test in practice what they learned;

  3. institution employees can increase their co-operation skills;

  4. employees can practice roles (moderator, keeper of the minutes, presenter, time keeper, etc.) required for effective teamwork, and have a good time together.



Short description of the method

  1. The leader / moderator of the exercise - a consultant, or a member of the teaching staff prepared for this task - presents the 7S model and, through some examples, illustrates the application potentials of this method.

  2. As the next step, participants are divided into seven groups - teachers and non-teachers mixed - so that each area is represented in each group. Groups will conduct an analysis and evaluation of a certain area (strategy, structure, systems, style, employees, capabilities and shared values) and they receive the criteria pertaining there to. Group work results are presented to the others, comments are added to and discussed, then the evaluation of each single area will be accepted.

  3. It is followed by the classification of the internal institutional image components, accepted by the teaching staff. In group work, statements are classified as "strengths" and "weaknesses". Group work is followed by presentation, the participants have a discussion on the classification, and in case there's an agreement, they accept it.

  4. Groups will define the vision in an other - new - area of the 7S model. When the vision is presented, it will be compared with the present, and employees decide - one by one, and in each area of the model -, on accepting the internal institutional image and the vision.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points



Advantages of the 7S method include:

  1. The entire staff can be involved in this work, allowing everybody to share, express his / her opinion and contribute, through his / her experiences, to the outline of the current and future image of the institution.

  2. This method provides in its application a high degree of independence for the individual groups. When conducting the different activities, independent work and joint thinking will have an outstanding role. The leader of the meeting acts as a moderator in the process.

  3. The interest, activity and intensive contribution of the participants to the completion of the task can be maintained through the entire duration of the exercise. It is guaranteed, on the one hand, by the subject itself, as the teacher and non-teacher employees working for the organisation are personally affected, and on a daily level, how the organisation operates, and how it should operate. On the other hand, activity and work intensity is guaranteed by the methods applied, by joint thinking, co-operation, and discussion, as well as tuning "games" as part of the exercise.

  4. In the course of the work it becomes apparent that everybody has his / her place and tasks in the organisation, and without any of the role-players, operation would become uncertain, "one-sided". That may resolve the rather frequent inferiority complex of the non-teacher employees.

  5. The participants "learn" how to work together, how to co-operate; this is something they are to encounter many times during the program implementation.

  6. This method can be flexibly adjusted to the number of staff of the institution. In a group, it is advisable to have 3-5 people working together. For that purpose, the ideal number of the teaching staff is 20-35. With a smaller staff than that, each task will have to be completed in two steps. (In this latter case, time demand is obviously higher.) With a larger staff, it is worth requesting the participation of an external expert or consultant.



Difficulties and critical points og application are:

  1. The leader of the exercise must have experiences as group leader. Experiences can be acquired not only by conducting training courses and adult training, but also by planning, organising and managing groupwork applied in the course of the teaching work. This exercise cannot be implemented without group leader experiences.

  2. When planning the program, it is worth laying special emphasis on winning the employees attending the meeting and tuning them for the task. Tuning and how the meeting is conducted are important steps, without them the exercise has no rising curve, and that may spoil the effect.

  3. The exercise may be held in the second half of the day, after work is finished, but the open self-assessment can also be conducted on a workday when there is no teaching.



Resources required by the method

When involving the total staff of the institution, the application of this method requires about 5-6 hours. It is followed by the collation of the groupwork results and recording what has been agreed on (entering it into a computer). That requires about 2-3 hours' further work for 2-3 persons.

  1. Tools required: sheets of paper, felt pens, glue, overhead projector in each team.

  2. Place: a room of suitable size, with mobile furniture.

  3. Personnel required: person(s) having team leader experiences.

It is possible to use this method for the entire institution as a single group. The leader of the exercise may be the leader of the internal qualiy organisation or any member of it. If the institution has no employee with moderator / groupleader experiences, it is advisable to commission an experienced consultant. With a large number teaching staff (over 35 persons) two leaders will need to be employed.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "The 7S Method". The detailed description contains a detailed plan of the work process and a relating case study on the results gained by applying the 7S method.

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SUPPORT FOR THE PROCESS OF DETERMINING OBJECTIVES

by: Qualitas T & G Kft.

(Qualitas T & G Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

It is a methodological guidance material to the work phase "Determination of objectives and priorities, and their modification" of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model I. By using the results of partners' demands analysis, and the conclusions drawn thereof, in this exercise the institution determines its objectives, categorises them on a time scale, and establishes a priority order. An essential component of this method is that it places special emphasis on the phase of analysis, when conclusions are also to be drawn, to be conducted prior to commencing the work.



Determination of objectives on the basis of this methodological guidance material offers the following potentials:

  1. a broad circle of employees can be involved in the determination of institutional objectives;

  2. the determination of objectives following the preliminary, analysing work can be conducted without the assistance of a consultant;

  3. the exercise allows participants to experience satisfaction in teamwork and acquire experience and routine on thinking and performing tasks in a team.

The procedure presented here allows the institution to involve the non-teaching staff in joint thinking. The rotation of tasks of varied forms (individual, team, staff level tasks) and the exact planning of these tasks all serve the activity of the participants.



Short description of the method

Prior to the application of the method and holding the teaching staff meeting to determine the objectives, the institution conducted a comparative analysis of its partners' demands and established the priority order of the problems identified.



Steps of the exercise

  1. With attention to partners' demands identified in the preparatory phase, the teaching staff determines the institution 's objectives.

  2. The teaching staff determines the priority order of the objectives. When doing this, attention is paid to previously explored partner demands, the institution's human resource development plan, national and local regulations, sponsor's demands, and the protection of the routes of learning.

  3. The teaching staff categorises the objectives on a time scale.

  4. The teaching staff compares the objectives of the educational/pedagogical programme with the long-term objectives formulated in the course of the exercise. The teaching staff also decides on whether or not they intend to modify the objectives of the educational / pedagogical programme of the institution.

  5. The institution makes a comparison of its medium- and short-term objectives and the objectives formulated in an earlier self-assessment exercise or in the annual work plan. The teaching staff makes a short evaluation of these objectives and decides on the modification of the work plan, if necessary.

  6. From among the objectives categorised on a timescale, the teaching staff selects those whose implementation they consider as most urgent.

  7. On the basis of a general resource analysis, the teaching staff decides on how many objectives they start implementing.

  8. The teaching staff identifies the factors that facilitate, and the ones that hinder the achievement of the selected objectives. (This is the preparation of the point 6. in the model description: a step forward after determining the objectives, the teaching staff's support for the work of the teams in charge of preparing action plans.)

  9. Teams are organised for the implementation of the selected objectives.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points



The advantages offered by this method

  1. The methods applied in the process of determining the objectives follow the requirements of the Institutional Model I.

  2. During the exercise, a broad circle of employees can be involved. It is advisable to conduct the exercise in a teaching staff meeting where almost all the employees of the institution can be present, that is, they may all contribute with their knowledge and experiences to the joint identification of the objectives, decide on priorities and their categorisation. From among the non-teaching staff, the participation of those working in the administrative and financial area may be especially useful in the joint work.

  3. It would be of help for the employees that they don't have to concentrate on the operation of the institution as a whole, but only on certain areas of operation.

  4. This method, in its application, allows for a high degree of independence during implementation. When performing the different activities, independent work and joint thinking are of outstanding importance. The leader of the meeting has the role of a moderator, thus this task can also be accomplished without the help of a consultant.

  5. The interest, activity and intensive contribution of the participants to the completion of the tasks can be maintained through the entire duration of the exercise. This can be achieved in the first place by using varied working methods: with varied meetings for giving information, team exercises, dialogues affecting the entire staff, discussions, arguments, synthesising meetings, presentations.

  6. The composition of the teams is changed from time to time, which allows employees to test themselves in joint work and become directly familiar with each other' thoughts, as well as to work and think together with colleagues whom they did not have an opportunity to work together earlier.

  7. In case it is not possible to work together like that, the method can also be applied in smaller teams.



Critical points of the method

The leader of the meeting must have experiences as a team leader (this experience can be acquired not only through training courses and adult education, but also through the planning, organising and managing teamwork incorporated into the teaching-learning process). This exercise cannot be implemented without team leader's experiences. The identification of objectives can be carried out in the frame of a full day teaching staff meeting.



Resources required by the method

The application of this method requires about 7-8 hours - in the frame of a teaching staff meeting (by the involvement of the broadest possible circle of employees) - then it is followed by the recording (entry into the computer) of the results of the team and teaching staff work. That's another 2-3 hours' work for 2-3 persons.

The exercise can be conducted by the head, or any member of the internal quality organisation. In case there's no staff member with experience in teamwork, or the teaching staff is large, it is advisable to commission an experienced external consultant to lead the meeting.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Support for the process of determining objectives".

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EVALUATION AND CORRECTION OF ACTION PLANS WITH THE HELP

OF A RADAR DIAGRAM

by: Mrs. Monori-Papp, Sarolta, independent consultant



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The radar diagram is a well-known graphic tool in quality improvement, which is suitable, among others, for the assessment of the organisational performance, presentation of the explored data, and quantitative indication of the quality of the surveyed factors. It can also be called as the "radar control" of quality. With the help of this procedure elaborated for seven factors (objective, implementation, time factor, human factor, other resources, success criteria, control) and four quality indices indicators (legitimacy of, and rate of control applicable to the planned factor, commitment of persons participating in implementation, and consistency of implementation)

  1. information can be collected on the reliability of the development and implementation of the action plans, their strong and weak points;

  2. correction, based on quality aspects, of the action plans can be prepared.



Application potentials, scope of application of the method

The radar diagram with the 24 indices, together with the related procedure, is a project management tool and method. It provides assistance in the preliminary or follow-up correction of any planning process (action plan, project plan, plan of tasks or process description). What is more, during implementation it may provide information, or a basis for decision-making on which factor(s) should be reconsidered, where corrective action(s) should be implemented in order to improve quality.



When filled in by the user himself, the radar diagram is a tool of self-assessment; when used for data collection, it can also be applied in the preparation of a check-list for the preliminary or follow-up correction. The tools pertaining to the procedure can be used through the entire process, starting from data recording, through data processing, up to the evaluation of results, and even the definition of tasks required for the correction of the action plans.



Short description of the method

First of all, we have to decide what we need most in the given moment of the development or implementation of the action plan: a self-assessment based on the opinion of the employees, or self-evaluation using the methods of inspection, or perhaps both at the same time. (Self-assessment will increase the organisation's expertise, commitment, while inspection provides insight and objective facts.)



  1. Let us carry out the assessment individually in accordance with the aspects provided, and let us carry out inspection as necessary.

  2. Let us collate the data and prepare the radar diagrams to show the differences between actual and ideal performance.

  3. Let us carry out data analysis in accordance with the quality factors and indices with the help of the completed diagrams and Results Sheet.

  4. Let us define the objective of the correction(s) to be taken in the action plan, supporting it by well-founded facts, what tasks need to be performed, and let us define the applicable deadlines and identify the persons responsible.

  5. Let us take care to have the decision on the submission made and to have the correction plan (the modified action plan ) prepared and implemented.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

By raising the awareness of the major factors of the planned and implemented processes, and requiring activities and attitudes that are necessary for the reliability of the processes, the application of this method promotes the development of reliable planning practice, as well as the development and enforcement of habits and practice indispensable to effective teamwork. It calls the attention to how differently the members of the organisation perceive and evaluate the same facts. It provides data both to quality management and the institutional management on what abilities and attitudes it would be worth planning to further develop (consciousness in planning, controllability, commitment and consistency in implementation).

The school management and project management is advised to refrain from taking problem analysis and planning solutions from the hands of the quality organisation (the team)! At the same time, it should not postpone either passing those decisions that it is supposed to pass, as by doing so, it would be a serious obstacle to the effectiveness of the activity and would just as well impair the enthusiasm of the employees.

Resources required by the method

The total procedure can be completed in one or two days. (The time required by a spectacular improvement of the different quality factors and indices, of course, fully depends on the institution and the task in question.) The method was expressly developed for individual institutional application: the condition to successful application is that, by the involvement of the employees concerned, the leader of the process should define the up-to-date objective why they use this method, provide for the resources necessary for the completion of the process and have the feedback on results and proposals for correction incorporated into the action plan to be improved.



The detailed description of the method can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials", under the heading "Evaluation and correction of action plans with the help of a radar diagram". In addition to the detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also contains the following methodological guidance materials: Excel file with case study diagrams and input data, Self-assessment sheet, Checklist, Result Sheet (A), Result Sheet (B), Feedback sheet for heads (A,B). The attached and processed case studies, made available with the kind contribution of the head and the leader of the quality organisation of the Oecumenical Primary and Secondary Grammar School in Fót, are intended to give assistance to the independent work of the users. (The radar diagrams were prepared by Zsolt Horváth, leader of the quality organisation.)

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METHODOLOGICAL GUIDANCE MATERIAL TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORK PHASES

"ASSESSMENT OF PARTNERS' DEMANDS AND SATISFACTION"

AND

"DEMAND ANALYSIS"

OF THE COMENIUS 2000 INSTITUTIONAL MODEL I

by: Expanzió Humán Tanácsadó Kft.

(Expanzió Human Resources Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

This methodological guidance material is not a methodological aid in the traditional sense of the word, as it is not giving a quality improvement method description that may be applied anywhere, rather it gives a guideline on introduction that offers a detailed route for the implementation of the two work phases and gives a summary on the current tasks of the given quality improvement work phase.



This methodological guidance material processes two work phases: assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction; and analysis of demands. This method allows us to survey the tasks of these phases, and then, breaking them down into small steps, it helps us to learn the measurement and analysis methods, and organise and document the work steps. As to the structure of this methodological guidance material, the presentation of the phases is followed by an explanation of the steps, and then, by a description of the recommended methods and their documentation. For the purpose of transparency, the methods recommended and the institutional case description presenting a unified application have been included in the Appendix. With regard to some steps, almost all factual issues of implementation are contained in the methodological description, while in case of other steps, the explanation of the given step contains the considerations that are to be paid attention to before applying the method. For that reason, our recommendation is that the Appendix to the methodological guidance material should be read and evaluated parallel with trying to understand the steps and preparing their application.



The method described in this methodological guidance material has been tested in 49 institutions in the initial, pilot phase of the COMENIUS 2000 Programme. Naturally, this short methodological guidance material cannot consider the differences in the quality improvement practice of the different types of institutions, therefore, it is recommended to read the explanation presented here with an understanding and further thinking attitude prior to the introduction of this application. However proven the model explanation is that we can offer, the user of the method should ALWAYS bear in mind the characteristics and quality improvement objectives of his / her own institution: the explanation and implementation steps of the work phases of the model can only become suitable for application with the incorporation of these aspects.



Scope of application of the methods contained in this methodological guidance material

The methods contained in this methodological guidance material can be divided into two major groups. The classical quality improvement methods (using slips of paper, brainstorming, tree diagram, cause / effect analysis, force field analysis (Pareto analysis)) can be used in a number of steps during the application of the institutional models. Most of the classical methods are approaches offering general help that can be successfully applied also in other areas of institutional operation (for problem solving, strategy planning, etc.), moreover, they can also be incorporated into daily routine (team tasks, class work, etc.). The other group of methods is a set of special procedures, typically related to the assessment of demand and satisfaction (criteria matrix, table of methods, development and use of demand assessment tools) that can be incorporated mostly in this work phase into the work of the institution.



Detailed description of the methodological guidance material



I. Assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction

The assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction is one of the phases of the development of partner-focused attitude and operation that require most careful planning. The serious professional expectations of this phase (sociological rules, analysis techniques, etc.) less known by public education institutions as well as the significant time and labour demand of the implementation are both a warning for us to be cautious. The planning of this phase must be preceded by an updating and careful review of the data on partners, and a survey of the existing forms of communication and keeping contact. The practice of surveying the institution's partners is created in the course of assessing the partners' demands and satisfaction, which will later serve as a decisive starting point for the institution's internal assessment, and thus, for its partner-oriented operation. This change may sometimes be accompanied by children's diseases, with its symptoms of excessive curiosity and intention to involve everybody. The initial enthusiasm over the survey often leads to exhaustion, or even disappointment as the quality improvement team is in the end left on its own with the badly planned and continuously increasing processing tasks.

This phase is built up of the following steps:

1. Development of a system of criteria for the assessment of the partners' demands and satisfaction, and the identification of these for the individual partners.

2. Identification of the methods and tools of the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction as applicable to individual partners.

3. Identification of the efficiency and validity criteria for the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction; determination of sample size and composition.

4. Selection of the sampling and measurement procedures applicable to the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction, determination of their frequency.

5. Developing the tools of the assessment of demands and satisfaction.

6. Conducting the assessment of demands and satisfaction.

7. How to handle sample decrease and non-responding groups?

8. Processing the demand and satisfaction surveys on the individual partners, and summation of the results in writing.

9. Making the results public for the partners.



II. Analysis of partners' demands

The objective of this phase is to lead the institution through a process, where, from the demands identified through demand assessment they proceed as far as creating a foundation for the objectives. In this phase, the institution compares the information derived from the surveys / assessments and the regularly collected feedback from partners with its own image and strategic documents (with the results of open self-assessment the pedagogical programme), and when a summary has been made of the issues and challenges that emerged during comparison, it is submitted to the teaching staff for consultation. The system of objectives created by the teaching staff though a weighting exercise will be the basis of further quality improvement work. The identification of the system of objectives - and the elaboration of proposals to serve as the basis of action plans at later times - can be realised through different kind of series of steps, i. e. algorithm. The explanation prepared by the Expanzió Humán Tanácsadó Kft. also contains further analysis of problems explored through comparative analysis before arriving at the identification of objectives so that the action plan can be built up of well-founded proposals for correction and solution.



During the exercise, the institution's employees participating in the work will also learn to use the methods of analysis and problem exploration. An essential component of this phase is that it intends to teach the institution not to pass decisions on the basis of opinions, but rather to collect data whereby it can reach the essential causes, and build up its system of objectives from the proposals on modifications. The detailed description of the phase calls the attention to the systematic steps of problem analysis. The shortcomings of problem analysis often side-track the work when we just attack the problems to quickly find solutions on the basis of our first impressions and experiences, without conducting a substantial cause analysis. When looking for the causes, it is essential to dig deeper, to search for the capital causes of the problem on abstraction level. Thus, while descending on the abstraction ladder, we may find the detailed, minute, yet so significant causes that we may collect proposals on to prevent or to change them. These minute changes will enable us, while ascending on the ladder, to define our objectives. The strengthening of employees' commitment to quality by their involvement in the work is of paramount importance for the institution's quality improvement.

The steps and methods presented in this phase can be applied in the identification of organisation development related objectives of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model II, what is more, they can also be used, in any case, as general problem exploring / solving methods. The application of this method can also prove to be useful, as a series of steps or guideline assisting problem-solving, in finding a solution for any problem arising in the operation of the institution.

The fundamental objectives of the analysis are as follows:

1. Increasing the partner-focused attitude in the institution's employees,

2. Recognition of the significance of causes that are behind the phenomena.

3. Increasing the (rate of) involvement (to involve at least 50% of the employees into teamwork - analysis, identification of objectives, etc.).

4. Strengthening the communication among employees.

5. Strengthening the communication with internal partners.

6. Formulation of proposals for solution that are feasible in the short term.



This phase is built up of the following steps:

1. Comparison of assessment results of partners' demands.

2. Problem definition, decision on how to define objectives in relation to problems.

3. Creation of improvement teams for identification of problems.

4. Exploration of facts and data characteristic to the problem.

5. Specification of problem definition.

6. Analysis of the actual causes of problems.

7. Collection of proposals for solution.

8. Weighting the proposals for solution.

9. Publishing proposals.



III. Short description of the method

Force field analysis

The objective of this method is to survey supporting, assisting factors as well hindering factors, obstacles in relation with a change planned to be realised in the organisation. When applying this method, the forces, factors assisting the change in the organisation as well as the ones hindering them are shown on one axis. The graph that we receive that way allows us to assess what we need more in the area under examination: an increase, strengthening of the assisting factors, or a mitigation of the hindering forces. In the implementation of the COMENIUS 2000 Programme, this method can be generally well applied in every case when a change is to be realised that affects the majority of the members of the organisation. Among the advantages of this method we may mention that the employees can be involved into the thinking process of, and the preparation work for the change, whereby we may decrease their eventual fears. It may be a difficulty if the search for proposals for solution is aiming not at the elimination of the hindering factors, but at further strengthening the driving forces. Better results can be attained in general, if we concentrate on the elimination of the hindering factors.



Using slips of paper

The objective of this method is to explore the participants' personal opinions, recommendations, have them presented one by one, and structure them on the basis of jointly agreed criteria; have the participants analyse and interpret them with respect to content and stylistics, and have them co-ordinate each others opinions, experiences. The slips of paper technique can be used as a technique incorporated into a number of other methods. This method will definitely stand its ground both as an independent method and as a component of other methods in any work phase of the COMENIUS 2000 Programme. An advantage of this method is that it can quickly and easily be used even in a larger group; it enables the participants to individually formulate their opinions, which, in turn, allows us to involve everyone, in an equal rate, into the improvement activity and provide an opportunity for the joint discussion of ideas while at the same time the person expressing his personal opinion is protected. The method of using slips of paper focuses the discussion on the objective, the specific idea, assists the analytic, synthetic and critical thinking and strengthens team spirit. Factual summation and categorisation of the slips may cause some problem.



Brainstorming

The objective of this method is to collect as many ideas on a given subject as possible, and to explore new alternative solution potentials different than the usual. It is one of the most frequently used creative techniques. It is a special, simple method that enables the group to collect opinions in a large number within a short time while the process is not disturbed by criticism and evaluation. In quality assurance, it is generally the basis of the creative methods applied in decision-making (635, NCM, Philips 66 method). It can be applied in almost all work phases of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education, in a number of quality improvement activities, but it is also used in itself, or as a component of one or the other process (e.g.: with Ishikawa cause analysis). One of the advantages of this method is that it is simple and enables us to collect a large number of ideas within a short period of time and with the help of a few tools. It can be incorporated into a number of methods and applied in a number of forms. It has a capacity to develop creativity and teach disciplined co-operation. Its potential disadvantages, difficulties are: the participants may be disturbed by the other person's prestige, status, attitude and value judgement.



The method of 635 (a variant of brainstorming)

The objective of this method is to collect proposals, implementation plan alternatives as preparation for decision-making. The participants work in teams of six, and circulate three solution proposals among each other five times. While doing so, they may become familiar with each other's ideas and expand them further. Thus, as a result we receive the idea, based on joint association of ideas, of the teams of six in 18 variations. In the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Model for School Education, the application of this method is advisable in the elaboration of the detailed plans (when commencing a work phase), collection of proposals on problem solving, compilation of action plans as well as in every case when we want to co-ordinate a complex issue with a number of persons and in shorter time than usual. An advantage of this method is that it excludes the disadvantageous team dynamic factors, occurring in brainstorming, built on open verbal communication. It is target oriented, team members focus on each other's ideas, different variations of the solution are received, enabling us to solve a ramifying task in relatively short time, and with the involvement of a number of persons. It may be critical if the professional composition of the team of six is not of equal value, those continuing the previous description will be under the influence of the ideas, propositions they read there -they may not have any more ideas or some members of the team cannot tune themselves for the variant of the idea they received, because they have only their own scheme, their own stereotype on their mind. When doing the final compilation, implementation can also be influenced by the subjectivity of the person who gave the original idea.



Matrix of Criteria

In the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Model for School Education, this method is used in the work phase of " Assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction", and in the work phase of the "Analysis of demands". The objective of this method is to develop a system of criteria for the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction. With respect to our identified and prioritised partners we find that we would like to know a lot about and receive a lot of information from our partners. For that reason, it is necessary to have a co-ordinated system of criteria. The determination of this system of criteria is closely interlinked with the institution's performance indicators. The analysis of demands and satisfaction is also performed on the basis of a matrix of criteria elaborated that way. The advantage of this method is that by the creation of the system of criteria, the indicators of the individual partner's demands and satisfaction become easily comparable and can be easily analysed. A critical point of the method is that criteria are defined on a general level. When it comes to breaking it down into specific methods, issues, the assessment process may become more complicated in the case of a more complex institution.



Table of methods

The application potential and area of this method in the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Model for School Education is in the work phase of the "Asessment of partners' demands and satisfaction". The objective of this method is to identify the methods and frequency of the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction and the sampling procedures applicable. In the process, the method, tools and sampling procedure of the assessment, its frequency and date, and the name of the person conducting the assessment as well as the name of the person responsible for it are identified for each partner. The advantage offered by this method is that it facilitates the implementation of the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction, and the designing of the procedures to be applied later. A critical point of the method is that a prerequisite to its creation is good planning ability, a profound survey of the institution 's enablers, and knowledge of sociology on demand assessment. The fundamental objective of this method is to prepare the institutions for the implementation of the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction and data collection activity, besides, it also allows us to present the fundamental sociological rules pertaining to the development and application of the necessary measuring tools, and to eliminate the potential mistakes. In the COMENIUS 2000 Model, this method is applicable after the areas of assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction have been selected and with being knowledgeable about the partners to be assessed and the subjects to be discussed. The advantage of this method is that it enables the institution - without having background knowledge in sociology - to select and use the appropriate assessment methods and tools. The description of the method shows the process of measuring tool development, data collection by these tools, and the processing, recording of the results, besides, it also contains the lessons learned from its application so far with special attention to the institution's decision on tool selection. The description of the method calls the attention to all the issues that may turn out to be a difficulty for the applying institution in the preparation and use of the measuring tools.



Effect analysis - Pareto analysis

The objective of this method is to separate significant information from the insignificant ones, point out disproportions, recognise situations where most problems tend to occur, find one or two major causes of a certain problem, and identify those one or two ideas that may be expected to yield highest return. The underlying principle of the method is that the bulk of the impact can be forecast on the basis of some triggering causes. This principle can be applied in a large number of situations. When data has been collected on potential problems and causes, the Pareto diagram allows us to examine this data in a systematic way. The Pareto analysis sets up an order for data, showing them in a column diagram. In the COMENIUS 2000 Model, this method can be well applied in the cause and effect analysis following the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction, as well as in the implementation of continuous improvement. The advantage offered by this method is that it helps us to focus on causes whose elimination is expected to generate the largest effect. The Pareto analysis explores what the largest problem is, or which cause is the most significant, thus "the few significant" can be separated from "the many trivial" which is a help for us when identifying priority actions. This method presents the order of relative significance of problems in a simple and easily understandable way. It protects us from solving a problem by eliminating some causes, but at the same time intensifying others. This method measures progress in a well visible way.



Cause-effect analysis - Fishbone diagram (Ishikawa diagram)

The objective of this method is to examine what was the cause of the problem perceived, and what are the real, triggering causes, the roots of the problem. The method was named after its inventor, Dr. Kaora Ishikawa, Japanese quality inspector - statistician, and it is called as fishbone diagram, because the diagram used in the method reminds us of a fishbone. This method collects, by a determined classification and analysis method, the potential causes of problems organised according to the Pareto principle, and selects from among them the most probable cause. With the help of all these, this method gives ideas to problem solutions, and to possible directions of problem analysis and data collection, respectively.



In the COMENIUS 2000 Model it is applied for the identification of a problem, or causes of problems, or narrowing the circle of causes after the analysis of partners' demands, prior to setting the objectives, and in relation with continuous improvement and the identification of corrective actions required. This method helps us to identify the potential consequences of a proposal, and also to implement a solution. An advantage of this method - as experience shows - is that it can be easily learned and applied, enhances teamwork and joint thinking, allows open communication, and assists us in focusing on the content of the problem, and directs the team's attention from the symptoms to the causes. Its critical points: when setting objectives, it is difficult to tell in advance what impact, or effect, might be expected; the classification of causes, exploration of categories and of essential identities between the different causes may be a problem, similarly, the generalisation, synthesization, and the logical process of the accurate identification of categories may just as well pose difficulties for the team. Some of the causes may belong to more than one category.



Tree diagram

The objective of this method is: the breakdown of a broadly defined objective, proposal or aspect into more and more detailed measures with the help of graphic presentation in order to make the specified tasks on "the branches" of the tree suitable for implementation. The tree diagram allows planners and observers to examine all logical links between the components on all levels of details and to see the entire plan (issue, proposal) under examination as a whole. The tree diagram belongs to the "causal" type of quality methods, that is, it explores the internal logical (fundamentally cause-effect) interrelations of the analysed issue (objective, problem, idea) and presents it in a structure that reminds us of a tree. In the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Model for School Education, this method can be used for the systematisation of proposals on establishing the quality team as well as for that of the proposals for improvement cropping up in planning solutions after problem analysis. An advantage of this method is the systematic, rational, logical planning of the given proposal, presenting it in a complex way, while its difficulty is that perhaps the definition given on the branches of the tree is not accurate, factual, or the proposed objective, function, task has been formulated not on the appropriate abstraction level.



Short description of the institutional case study

The case study shows the model implementation practice designed for special primary schools for children with special education needs (SEN). The objective of the presentation of this coherent institutional case study is to help us see how the steps, procedures, methods and tools of the work phase presented in this material are applied in an organisation. The detailed work reports of the institution give us a picture on how the system of criteria applicable to the assessment of partners' demands is identified, how the methods and tools of demand assessment are developed, how the results of the assessment of partners' demands are collated, how the experiences are analysed for the different partners and also in a comparative complex analysis, starting from the identification of the problems to the exploration of the causes of these problems. The reader becomes knowledgeable on how these general methods can be filled with special content and to what extent they are determined by the type of the institute and its special circle of partners. The presentation of a consistent, substantial and disciplined application of the methods in this institute demonstrates the significance of methods applied when coming face to face with the local problems and formulating our proposals for improvement.



Advantages of the application of this methodological guidance material and its critical points

This methodological guidance material is intended to provide help - through the explanation and presentation of its steps - to the applying institution in "translating" the requirements of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model I into its own institutional requirements. This methodological guidance material provides common interpretation concerning the completion of the assessment and analysis phase. An advantage of this material is that it identifies a clear route for the institutions intending to apply this method, and gives a logical order of the steps to be accomplished, also indicating the methods to be applied.



Resources required by the method

The implementation of the two phases described may require - in function of the situation and capabilities of the applying institution - rather varied resources in the implementation. From the aspect of resources, the most critical point of the work phases is the phase of assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction where the following factors will jointly influence the time input required:

  1. the quantity of information the selected tools are expected to provide,

  2. the differences of the partner groups to be surveyed (pupils, parents, teachers, other direct partners),

  3. the size of the selected base population to be surveyed,

  4. the size of the selected sample,

  5. ability of tools and processing to be simplified (ability to be coded when recording),

  6. quantity of information collected and recorded.



Beside the different effects of these factors, attention should also be paid to the time used for the survey as it should not exceed three months, or the institute may get lost in collecting data. The duration of the analysis process is advised to be maximum two months long. The attention of those in charge of planning the two work phases should be called to the time required by the analysis phase, and in the first place, to the importance of employees' participation: the analysis and weighting of explored problems requires a consensus on institutional level that can only be achieved with the involvement of a broader circle of employees and by establishing small teams for analysis purposes. An active involvement of the teaching staff, moreover, of the entire staff into the discussion of issues significant from the aspect of improving the quality of the institutional work is a resource that cannot be replaced - it can only be closed - by a teaching staff meeting, where the staff willingly gives its approval to a proposal prepared before the meeting.



The detailed description of the methodological guidance material can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials" under the following headings: "Methodological guidance material to the implementation of work phases Assessment of Partners' Demands and Satisfaction and Demand Analysis of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model I." (also containing the institutional case study); "Force field analysis"; "Using slips of paper"; "Brainstorming"; "The method of 635"; "Matrix of criteria"; "Table of methods"; "Effect analysis - Pareto analysis"; "Cause-effect analysis - Fishbone diagram (Ishikawa diagram)"; "Tree diagram".

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THE KJ-S DIAGRAM

by: Qualimed Min?ségügyi és Vezetési Tanácsadó Kft.

(Qualimed Quality and Management Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The KJ-S Diagram is a help for the teams working in the institutions in their planning and preparation work in the work phase "Identification and modification of objectives and priorities". With the help of this method, the strengths and weaknesses of the institution, as well as the opportunities available to, and the threats to the institution can be explored as appropriate for the Institutional Model I of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. A special benefit of the method is that it enhances the development of teamwork during the implementation of the program. The KJ-S method is an inductive tool of teamwork, based on brainstorming. It gives assistance in answering, clarifying questions like "What?", "What kind?". The method is suitable for the collection of a lot of ideas / themes, the classification and summation thereof; it helps us to understand the essence of the problems, and to search for and find creative solutions. This method is widely used for data collection relating to strategic plans in public education institutions. By structuring most specific statements of facts (linguistic data), the KJ-S method is suitable for stating order of importance and correlation, and for the presentation of events, situations, facts, opportunities, damages, losses in accordance with their relatedness to each other. It can also be applied as a (non-team) individual method. It is advisable to use the KJ-S method in every case when data collection, analysis based on facts, but statistically not directly controlled is conducted in a team (e.g.: of managers).



Short description of the method

The members of the team responsible for data collection and analysis write individually specific, factual statements on the stickers - after acquiring the knowledge, or repetition thereof (always needed because of important details), necessary for the application of the method - as a response to the question asked (e.g.: What is the strength of our institution?). The data received that way will be synthesised by the team for content, and then for cause-effect interrelation. Finally the statements are weighted by the team members, and with this they answer the question raised.

Steps of the method:

  1. Phrasing the questions that need to be answered.

  2. Warming up conversation to the processing of the subject.

  3. Recording the most specific statements.

  4. Classification of base data in accordance to content.

  5. Summation of classified stickers on a more abstract level.

  6. Classification of more abstract statements received that way.

  7. Repetition of the previous two steps (if necessary).

  8. Determination of the logical relations between the highest abstraction level statements.

  9. Recording the system of statements on the flipchart.

  10. Determination of the order of importance of first level summary statements.

  11. Drawing summary conclusions concerning the question.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

The preparation and the leader of teamwork have capital importance in the successful application of the method. The fundamental task of the team leader is the exact interpretation and communication of the method towards the team members, checking whether they have understood, and monitoring all steps of the work and partial tasks (also in case of individuals). The experience of teamwork gives an essential feeling of success and motivation to the participants right after the first application. Among others, satisfaction indicators, measured at training courses where the method was applied, also confirm this.



Resources required by the method

This method is not one of the most time demanding techniques, but the team as a whole must destine for this purpose about 2-3 hours. The ideal number of the team is 4-7 persons, but it can still be conducted with a larger number. Tools needed: stickers, or white paper slips (with some glue), black, red, blue pens, felt pens (black, red, blue and green), one sheet of paper (A/0 type, packaging) paper or flipchart paper, flipchart board, table that the participants may sit or stand around.

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THE METHOD OF CONTROLLED SELF-ASSESSMENT

by: Struktúra Min?ségfejleszt? Kft.

(Struktúra Quality Improvement Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The self-assessment method built on the philosophy of the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Model but specifically tailored to public education institutions enhances the fulfilment of the requirements provided in the Institutional Model I, point 10.1 and the Institutional Model II, point 1.1.6. in the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education. Self-assessment allows the organisation to identify and rank its improvement tasks, and integrate the most important tasks into its strategic plan.



Short description of the method

When conducting a controlled self-assessment, the institutions conduct an assessment and analysis on 12 major subjects. The area under examination consists of two major groups: analysis of the institution's management and operation characteristics, and evaluation of the institution's results.



Issues examined in the area of management and operation characteristics are:

1. Evaluation of leadership

2. Strategic and operative planning

3. Evaluation of people management

4. Use of resources

5. Evaluation of the education-teaching and operation processes and their regulation

6. The scope of application of continuous improvement

7. Evaluation of organisational culture and climate.



Issues examined in the area of results are:

8. Participation of employees (their rate of involvement) in the implementation of institutional programs and improvements

9. Satisfaction of external partners (parents, pupils)

10. Satisfaction of internal partners (teachers and employees assisting pedagogical work)

11. Undertaking social, community roles

12. Results of the education-teaching activity of the institution.



This method offers specific questions and measuring tools for the evaluation of the individual subject. The local characteristics of the institution and questions that answer the institution's demands have to be added to the areas and questions of self-assessment. Self-assessment is conducted on a representative sample of the leaders, teachers and non-teaching staff (employees assisting pedagogical work) of the institution, parents and pupils. Parents and pupils have to be included in the assessment in case the survey findings of partners' demands and satisfaction do not, or only partially cover the subjects of controlled self-assessment. Survey and assessment sheets are available both for the management and operation subjects and the results.



With respect to the management and operation subject, the persons participating in self-assessment are to examine and quantify, with the help of assessment sheets (question lists), how the activities belonging to the different subjects are performed in the institution, or to what extent the different statements are characteristic to the institution. Individual assessment is done on a scale from 0 to five. Summarised data can be presented in figures or by graphic presentation. In repeated self-assessment to be conducted at a later point of time, the organisation will have to examine and provide evidence on the progress made in the area of management and operation.

The evaluation of results is based not on questionnaire surveys, but on the analysis of data that can be measured (average values of school achievement, indices of satisfaction, figures on occurrence, percentage distribution, etc.). When compiling these, data derived from regular survey of partners' demands and satisfaction should be used. The evaluation of results focuses, for the most part, on the summarisation and analysis of the institution's data available on trends. It is advisable to evaluate actual results together with their development tendency in comparison to previous years' results (trend analysis). By reliance on the summarised and quantified figures and their tendency, a list can be prepared on the strengths of the organisation, and on its areas to be improved; in the case of the latter, the priorities are also identified. With the help of the catalogue / inventory of problems explored by controlled self-assessment, the institution can identify its objectives and elaborate action plans for these objectives, in a similar way as for the tasks identified in the assessment of partners' demands and satisfaction.



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

In case the management of an institution wants to gain the most possible benefit from self-assessment, then they use this method to define where the institution is at the moment, and how much progress has been made compared to the previous period. To eliminate weak points, an action plan is prepared, and on completion of this plan, self-assessment is repeated time after time, and this is how the continuous improvement of the institution is realised. In the application of this methodological guidance material, institutions commit the first mistake, when the questions pertaining to the different subjects and evaluation criteria are not adjusted to the characteristics of their institution. Some essential problems may be lost that way despite of the tremendous resources destined for self-assessment. Another problem may be that the persons involved in self-assessment have no sufficient knowledge of the vocabulary / terminology, philosophy, and best practices of the area under examination (e.g.: process control, organisational culture, continuous improvement, etc.), thus, it may happen that they give positive evaluation on a management and operation practice that is far from satisfying the requirements of the Institutional Model II.



Resources required by the application of the method

The human resource requirement of conducting a self-assessment can in essence be provided by the creation of a team and its work. The participants in the team should expect an almost one month' workload, that means in fact at least six hours' extra work per week. The time input required from the leaders and employees involved in filling in the assessment sheets is estimated to be around 2-3 hours per person. Most workload is generated by the collation, editing, and graphic presentation of data. Use of computer for this task is advisable.



The detailed description of the methodological guidance material can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials" under the following headings: "The Method of Controlled Self-Assessment". Apart from a detailed description of the method, the CD ROM also contains tools, and presents an institutional case study for the implementation of the controlled self-assessment.

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PREPARATION OF PROCESS INVENTORY AND PROCESS MAP AS WELL AS THE SCHEDULE

FOR ELABORATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

OF

PROCESS CONTROL PROCEDURES

by: Qualimed Min?ségügyi és Vezetési Tanácsadó Kft.

(Qualimed Quality and Management Consultancy Co.)



The objective of the methodological guidance material

The objective of this material is to provide efficient assistance to teams responsible for the elaboration and introduction of the Total Quality Management system in their institutions, to enable them to create a system that is well-adjusted to the model description and the specific features of their institutions. This method is an effective support to the identification of the institution-wide process control requirements and to scheduling these tasks in accordance with the Institutional Model II of the COMENIUS 2000 Quality Improvement Programme for School Education (point II./I.5., II. Introduction and II./1.).



Application potentials of the method, scope of application

This method is advised to be used for the identification of the processes of an operating institution and organisation, furthermore, for the classification and ranking of processes, on the basis of the institution's mission, objectives, vision and tasks. This method is suitable for identification the processes of any quality management system adjusted to a given set of criteria and their major interrelations, and for the elaboration of the schedule of preparation and implementation of the process control procedures. The method supports the ranking of processes on the basis of the organisation's objectives.



Short description of the method

The institution management and the improvement team responsible for process control jointly work on the identification of the processes of the institution, and their ranking. In the interest of an institution-wide control of processes, in the course of process identification all processes are considered with the help of all the available activities serving partners' demands (output), and documents, records used by the institution. This process inventory is supplemented in accordance with system requirements. When preparing the process map, a distinction is made between the processes on the basis of their impact on the attainment of the institutional objectives, the key processes of capital importance from the aspect of their mission and the relationship of the process system components are identified. With regard to the elaboration of the system and distribution of the tasks, process owners (managers) are identified on the basis of their competence. They will be responsible for the management of process control. On the basis of this process map, the schedule for the elaboration and implementation of the process control procedures will be made, which is indispensable also in the initial phase of the implementation of the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model II. The process inventory and process map are jointly prepared by the members of the institution's management, and they serve as a basis for the preparation of the work schedule, which is the task of the process control team.

Major steps:

  1. Preparation of the process inventory

  2. Preparation of the process map

  3. Preparation of the schedule for the elaboration and implementation of procedures



Presentation of the experiences on the application of the method, and its critical points

A critical point of the method is that thinking in processes and process approach has no widespread tradition. For that reason, special emphasis has to be put on laying a foundation of this approach. Process description through process flowchart efficiently serves this purpose. The resource investment that seems to be disproportionately high in the initial phase yields a good return in the transparency and illustration received in the end. To implement accurate and well-founded process planning and improvement, this method is the principal good tool. Of course it does not substitute the recording in writing for the employees.



In order to have an efficient and effective system tailored to the organisation, co-ordination is needed. The public education institutions have a large number of "input" documents as a matter of routine, a large number of rules determining their daily life in principle. These documents (e.g.: Rules of Procedures for Organisation and Operation and the pedagogical program) overlap each other in a number of areas, while at the same time they provide regulations of different depths and perhaps in different ways. These documents have to be co-ordinated with the quality management system in preparation and converted into suitable tools for daily life and practice.



Resources required by the method

After having studied the COMENIUS 2000 Institutional Model II in one or two team meetings, the base/draft concept of process plan can be prepared. Beyond the process control team, the institution management is also taking part in this phase. The preparation of the schedule for elaboration and implementation is the responsibility of the process control team. The co-ordination and development of the final documentation may be the result of a longer analysis, and may require as much as one or two months. For this work felt pens, packaging paper or flipchart paper, and a flipchart board are necessary.



The detailed description of the method and the presentation of the related case studies can be found on CD ROM titled "Methodological Guidance Materials" under the following heading: "Preparation of process inventory and process map as well as the schedule for the elaboration and implementation of and process control procedures".

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