What is SWOT analysis in education?  

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A SWOT analysis is a planning tool useful in any field and typically associated with business. However, its versatility lends itself to any number of practical disciplines, including education.

SWOT is an acronym that stands Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. During a SWOT analysis of a program or initiative, one...

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A SWOT analysis is a planning tool useful in any field and typically associated with business. However, its versatility lends itself to any number of practical disciplines, including education.

SWOT is an acronym that stands Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. During a SWOT analysis of a program or initiative, one lists each of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats which face that program or initiative. These are typically, though not always, represented on a Cartesian plane in which each quadrant is used to list one of the four dimensions of analysis. By looking at the results of the SWOT analysis, a decision maker can determine if a strategic objective is attainable given the extant environment.

Three examples of a SWOT analysis used in educational practice are contained in the links section of this answer.

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In general, a SWOT analysis is used to analyze any group, entity, organization, or idea, by identifying four aspects that represent one letter in the SWOT acrostic: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In terms of education, the SWOT analysis can be effective in identifying what is and is not effective procedure for staff, faculty, and management in school systems.

A SWOT is often implemented in an educational environment in anticipation of some change in policy, or in done simply in preparation for a quality check. The primary goal of a SWOT analysis is identifying barriers that can be overcome by playing to individual strengths in order to achieve to goals of the institutions, as well as identifying any risks and reducing them as much as possible.

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Generally speaking, a SWOT analysis is applied to an organization, although it can certainly be applied to various units of the organization, too.  Within the context of education, there is no reason such an analysis could not be done upon an entire school district.

A strength of a school district might be magnet schools with great reputations, or it could be the kinds of labs and equipment the district makes available to its students. A weakness might be too many inexperienced teachers or insufficiencies in art and music education. An opportunity could an increase in state funding or the ability to compete for some great grants.  One real and significant threat to public schools is the competition, which is charter schools and private schools, all of which can drain off students and state funding. 

I would imagine that a SWOT analysis would be helpful to any number of school districts or even to individual schools, if anyone took the time and trouble to perform one.  I refuse to think of public education as a business, but this is one business concept that might actually be useful!

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SWOT analysis refers to a way of evaluating a situation. This strategy involves looking at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats surrounding a certain person or situation. While this strategy is applicable to many situations, it can be used in education to evaluate students, teachers, or even institutions. By using this type of evaluation in education, a targeted strategy tailored to the particular student or teacher in question can be formed.

On a student level, SWOT analysis can paint a picture about the strengths and needs of a particular student, as well as environmental factors that can provide support or could thwart learning objectives. This can include areas in which the child excels, where he or she needs extra help, support services available, and problems beyond the student's control that need to be overcome. The same can be said of a teacher. SWOT analysis can find teachers' strengths and weaknesses and identify what can aid or reduce their efficacy in the classroom.

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