Developing Indicators of Success

By John Hamerlinck

Here is just a quick post while this is still on my mind. Recent conversations at our forums on assessment and evaluation and an inquiry from a colleague regarding indicators reminded me to share a few useful tips that I’ve collected over the years. None of these are my original ideas, but I can’t recall the individual sources – except for the first one, which I got from Geralyn Sheehan.

  • Never a story without a number – never a number without a story
  • Indicators arise from values. We measure what we value. We value what we measure.
  • Indicators must be: 1) meaningful, 2) robust and technically sound, 3) sensitive and 4) capable of being reported regularly.
  • Measure what you want to be.
  • Measure the cause not just the effect.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of measuring what is easily measurable rather than what is important.
  • Effective indicators give you information while there is still time to act.

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