Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Is a Weighted Decision Matrix, Tool or Template?

What is a weighted decision matrix?

Weighted Decision Matrix is a very straightforward tool designed to help decide between a number of options by measuring them against a set of criteria. E.g. the question "what shall I eat for tea" is broken down into the multiple criteria that must be considered (e.g. Taste, Nutrition and Preparation time). Those criteria are then weighted in order of importance so that the most important criteria have the most influence on the result obtained. The potential options (e.g. Chips, Wrap, Pasta or Beans) are all scored against the criteria being used and the weighted decision matrix will then calculate a score by multiplying the score per option by the weighting. A decision is reached which will rank the options in order of importance. The weighted decision matrix was invented by Stuart Pugh.
When to use a Weighted Decision Matrix?
Some decisions are straightforward but some are much more difficult because several factors must be considered. Do I watch the James Bond film or the Jason Bourne film is a simple question to answer and I can't think of anyone who would need a weighted decision matrix to do that but what if you're deciding an issue or problem that is much more complex? For example, you need to buy a new car or which wedding reception venue to book? Suddenly there are lots of factors to consider and the weighted decision matrix comes into its own. With the car for example, the purchaser has to consider cost, MPG, 0-60, boot space etc etc. The weighted decision matrix allows them to weight all of those factors by importance so that a decision can be made based on the most important factors. Giving each of the criteria a value strips out some of the emotion involved because you are being honest with yourself about what really matters and if feeling emotional about it is important then that can in itself can become one of the factors! Money is tight so MPG and the initial cost will have far higher weightings than boot space for example. This way the decision becomes objective and less subjective.
How to use a Weighted Decision Matrix?
So how do you get started? The weighted decision matrix will cope with many different scenarios and the one thing each has in common is that you already have a shortlist of options. Holiday destinations for example. You can build a matrix as a group if more than one person is involved and that way with you all looking at the screen you can decide on the factors involved and then debate the scores. All angles are then covered. You should build the decision matrix in a table on a spreadsheet and here are the steps you need to take:
1. Choose the question to answer and write it down. If you don't then you risk not being clear on the outcome you want to achieve
2. Now you need to decide on the factors involved in the decision being made. Think Who, When, Why, What and How to get you started. E.g. How much will it cost? List these in a column.
3. Now you need to weight the factors you settled on in step 2. Do this in column two. You should give the most important factor a value of 5 and the least important a value of 1. By doing this you are strict about what's important and what isn't so much. If you can't decide on the order it is okay to give two factors a weighting that is the same but that kind of misses the point
4. You know what your options are and you need to put them in a row so as you complete a table
5. The final step is to score all of your options. Be consistent in your scoring, always mark out of 5 or 10. You need to set up a formula to calculate your score x the weighting. Total these up and you have a result.
The matrix should look like this:
The weaknesses of a Weighted Decision Matrix
People are ineffective at assessing risk and so they do not get the weightings right in the first place. It is an emotional process and objective data is often ignored.
People in a group will often disagree on the weightings to be given. For example "cost" would be a very important criteria for someone out of work but irrelevant to a millionaire.
This decision making technique is highly effective especially for group decisions. If you need to make up your mind then discover Mark's powerful, interactive online weighted decision matrix templates and tools at the home of the Weighted Decision Matrix.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Anatomy of Independent Schools

Independent schools can make a tremendous difference to the students that attend them. They offer academic opportunities that will serve the individuals well for the rest of their lives.
As a parent, you can choose to place your child in an educational institution that has a mission. It has a philosophy, values and a teaching approach that is appropriate for your child. What will result for your youngster is an education that will prepare her for the many challenges that lie ahead of her. She will be ready for the rewarding, stimulating and successful experiences that she will encounter in high school, college and her life following that.
Academics are important for every student but independent schools also work to cultivate the life skills that children require to be capable in their everyday lives. The teachers and the administrators are passionate about the work they do and seek to help the students to reach their full potential through a curriculum that is research based as well as a safe and secure community environment.
There are approximately 2,000 independent schools located throughout the U.S. They offer students from preschool age through high school a high quality education with a unique twist.
These academic organizations can operate as independent entities due to the fact that they have distinct missions. They are not funded by the government but instead are supported by charitable contributions, endowment revenue and tuition payments. They can be thought of as similar in nature to private schools. These facilities for learning can be either same sex or coeducational. They can operate as day schools or boarding schools.
Every learning institute of this nature is held accountable by a Board of Trustees and must maintain high accreditation standards to remain in operation.
Independent schools have been shown through research studies to be successful. They offer close knit communities for educators, students and parents. The instructors who teach at these unique learning academies are committed to their work. They are able to offer individualized attention to each student. This is not something that can be found at every public school.
Educational institutions that function solely on their own offer hands-on learning opportunities for their pupils. The educational experiences provided by these learning institutions go beyond the work that is taught in the classrooms. They are overall learning experiences that can also enrich the personal lives of the recipients. Parents can be actively engaged in the day-to-day goings on that takes place at independent schools. For those parents looking to send their kids to a place where there is a supportive learning environment, this is the right institution for you.
People who send their children to these facilities do so because they like the small classes, the excellent teachers who are dedicated to helping their kids to succeed, and the individual attention their child receives. They also do so because of the high academic standards. Another common reason is because they desire a well-rounded and high-quality learning experience for their youngster.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Improving Your Child's Grades at County Schools

Your child's grades are slipping and you are starting to wonder if you should start looking closer at other county schools to find one that is more appropriate for him. Before you start tearing your hair out and convincing yourself that the educational grass may be greener at another institution, there are things you can do to help him. Placing him in a different school may not be necessary at all.
As a parent, the first thing you can do is become better acquainted with what your youngster is being taught. Flip through his textbooks and notebooks. Ask questions. What materials are being covered? What is he learning? What expectations does the teacher have for her students? What does your child need to accomplish on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Most county schools in the same area would follow a similar curriculum. Moving your kid to a new school therefore might prove futile because it will not address the issues he is facing with his studies.
To help your child to improve his grades, you need to communicate with his teacher. Call her up or request a meeting. Most teachers are more then happy to meet with concerned parents. They are pleased for any input that can help them to encourage a higher level of learning for their students.
Keep in mind that each classroom found in county schools will have its share of differences. Every teacher has her own way of instructing and how she comes across to pupils is not always the same. Not every child will be taught in the same manner, just as not every child's style of learning is the same. As a parent, you need to know what your youngster is being taught as well as the way in which the material is being presented.
All county schools espouse a high standard of learning and do everything possible to help their students succeed. Having a strong gasp of the work is important, as is getting good grades that will enable them to pass and go onto the next grade. Let your voice be heard if you feel that the quality of education is not as high as it should be at the school your son or daughter attends.
To help your child bring up his grades, you need to make sure that you never miss any of the parent and teacher conferences that are scheduled. These provide you with progress reports for your son or daughter. The teacher can tell you exactly how your little student is doing and in what areas extra help, encouragement and support are required. In some educational facilities these meeting are not compulsory but are optional. As a parent of a child whose grades could be better, it would be wise for you to take advantage of every opportunity to speak openly and in private with your son or daughter's teacher.