How do indicators contribute to performance measurement?
Indicators are the metrics to measure achievement of outcomes. They must be quantifiable and reference a specific goal for the ROSS program. For example:
- Rather than “More program participants will have a high school degree,” try “Increase the number of program participants who obtain a high school diploma or GED by 10 percent.” The first example is vague, while the second example specifies the percent increase the program is targeting.
- Instead of “Elderly program participants will have better health outcomes,” try “Increase the number of elderly program participants who rate their physical health as ‘good’ or better by 10 percent.” The first example specifies a general trend, while the second example describes how to measure this outcome.
Outcome indicators should also reference a specific time period. Since ROSS grantees receive funding for a three-year period, Service Coordinators may choose to set objectives that can be achieved within one, two, and three years, but should also establish shorter-term indicators for measuring immediate or intermediate outcomes. This can help determine whether program activities and services are achieving intended results in the shorter term.
Examples of shorter-term outcomes include changes in knowledge, attitudes, opinions, and behavioral intentions (that is, a person’s expressed plans or intent to engage in a specific behavior) that lead to longer-term improvements in participants’ well-being and economic security. By tracking more immediate outcomes and setting targets for longer-term performance, grantees can gauge whether the program is on track to achieve the program’s goals. Regular assessment of progress towards outcomes provides an opportunity to measure the effectiveness of current program activities and adjust as needed.
- For our example of a ROSS program that has established an outcome related to enrollment in Early Head Start and Head Start, an outcome indicator could be “At least 60 percent of eligible children in ROSS families are enrolled in Early Head Start or Head Start programs within the first year of ROSS program operations.”
The next section discusses program monitoring and audits, which HUD uses to confirm that grantees are effectively administering the ROSS program according to requirements.