Track Your Outcomes

The final step in your evaluation launch is to track program outcomes.  Outcomes metrics track the efficiency of the program, best use of resources, and effectiveness of the program (impact on participants).

An outcomes measurement scorecard provides a succinct and standardized way to keep track of program outcomesand mark progress over time. It also allows for easy reporting. An outcomes measurement scorecard includes the following elements:

  • Outcome statement
  • Indicator: measures specific data that track a program’s success on outcomes by describing observable, measurable characteristics or changes that represent achievement of an outcome.
  • Target (the number that the outcome is aiming to reach)

Example:

  • Outcome: We want this program to result in increased participant satisfaction
  • Indicator: Percentage of total participant satisfaction, based on written satisfaction surveys
  • Target: 100 percent participant satisfaction

The following checklist is a great start to formulating your tracking plan:

  • A variety of audiences are taken into consideration when specifying credible outputs, outcomes, and impacts.
  • Target participants and/or partners are described and quantified as outputs (e.g. 100 teachers from 5 rural high schools).
  • Events, products, or services listed are described as outputs in terms of a treatment or dose (e.g. 30 farmers will participate in at least 3 sessions of program, or curriculum will be distributed to at least 12 agencies).
  • The intensity of the intervention or treatment is appropriate for the type of participant targeted (e.g. higher-risk participants warrant higher intensities).
  • The duration of the intervention or treatment is appropriate for the type of participant targeted (e.g. higher-risk participants warrant longer duration).
  • Outcomes reflect reasonable, progressive steps that participants can make toward longer-term results.
  • Outcomes address awareness, attitudes, perceptions, knowledge, skills, and/ or behavior of participants.
  • Outcomes are within the scope of the program’s control or sphere of reasonable influence.
  • It seems fair or reasonable to hold the program accountable for the outcomes specified.
  • The outcomes are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and timed.
  • The outcomes are written as change statements (e.g. things increase, decrease, or stay the same).
  • The outcomes are achievable within the funding and reporting periods specified.
  • The impact, as specified, is not beyond the scope of the program to achieve.

(W.K. Kellogg Foundation)

This is an ongoing process that will continue to inform your program success, areas for improvement, and areas for change.  How are you doing so far?  Be encouraged – there is a final step remaining.  Until next time – keep at it!

 

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