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Baldrige Performance Excellence Guide Can Help Education Institutions Learn How to Improve

Criteria designed to help education institutions improve their services and overall performance are available now from the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

As a self-assessment tool, the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence can help an education institution measure performance and target opportunities for improvement in seven key areas:

  • leadership,
  • strategic planning,
  • student and stakeholder focus,
  • information and analysis,
  • faculty and staff focus,
  • educational and support process management, and
  • school performance results.

"By helping education institutions assess and improve their overall performance and strive for excellence in all they do, the Baldrige performance excellence criteria drive improvements beyond most accreditation requirements," said Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige National Quality Program at NIST.

The performance excellence criteria for education institutions are based on the very popular Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence first created in 1988 for businesses. More than a million and a half copies of the original criteria have been distributed, and wide-scale reproduction and electronic access add to that number significantly.

While thousands of U.S. organizations use the criteria to assess and improve their overall performance, going through the application process brings additional benefits. For a nominal fee, education institutions that submit an application will receive from 300 to 1,000 hours of review by at least six members of the award’s private-sector board of examiners. All applicants will receive a detailed feedback report from these experts on their strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Managed by NIST in conjunction with the private sector, the Baldrige National Quality Program is helping U.S. businesses and other organizations improve their competitiveness and performance by promoting performance excellence, recognizing achievements of U.S. organizations and publicizing their successful strategies.

Baldrige Awards are given in manufacturing, service, small business, and, starting in 1999, education and health care.

Single copies of the Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence are available free of charge from NIST, (301) 975-2036; fax: (301) 948-3716; nqp [at] (nqp[at]nist[dot]gov); or on the World Wide Web at

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Released January 22, 1999, Updated November 27, 2017