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Publication Date: January 2010
What Are Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation?
What Are the Basic Steps?
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What Are Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation?

Types and Benefits

Performance Measurement

Performance measurement assesses a program’s progress toward its stated goals. The data collected measure specific outputs and outcomes a program is designed to achieve. Outputs are the result of the activities (inputs) that go into a program, while outcomes are the final results of or changes resulting from an activity. Exhibit 1 reviews inputs, outputs, and outcomes/impacts.

Exhibit 1
Types of Performance Measures
Term Definition
Input Resources used to produce outputs and outcomes.
Output The direct, immediate result of an activity. Products and services that result from an activity.
The intended initial, intermediate, and final result of an activity. The desired change in behavior, attitude, knowledge, skills, and conditions at the individual, agency, system, or community level.

Collecting data on your program’s inputs, outputs, and outcomes/impacts will help you answer a few key questions:

  • What are we doing with our resources (inputs)?
  • What services are we providing? Are we reaching our target audience (outputs)?
  • Are program activities achieving the desired objectives (outcomes)?
  • What long-term effects are these efforts having in achieving our goals (impacts)?

Moreover, the results of your program evaluation will justify continued funding from your funding sources. Specific performance measures may include the following:

  • Number and type of services provided to victims.
  • Number and type of service providers available to victims.
  • Number of service professionals who received training.
  • Changes in policy and practice in the community response to victims.
  • Increase in the number of collaborative partners in the designated region.

Program Evaluation

Although various types of program evaluations exist, the type of evaluation you conduct depends on the questions you want to answer. Process, outcome, and impact evaluations are three types of evaluations you may be required to conduct:

  • Process evaluations assess the extent to which the program is functioning as planned.
  • Outcome evaluations examine overall program effects. This type of evaluation focuses on objectives and provides useful information about program results.
  • Impact evaluations focus on long-term program goals and issues of causality.

Each type of evaluation has specific benefits that will assist you in successfully meeting your program goals and objectives along a continuum. Overall, evaluations help—

  • Improve program management.
  • Inform program planning and implementation.
  • Allocate resources strategically.
  • Win program support by demonstrating results.
  • Improve accountability to stakeholders.
  • Improve program effectiveness by focusing on results.
  • Demonstrate that program activities contribute to achieving agency or governmentwide goals.