Performance Objectives and Measurement

Courtney L. Brown and Mindy Hightower King

in Education

ISBN: 9780199756810
Published online December 2011 | | DOI:
Performance Objectives and Measurement

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  • Education
  • Organization and Management of Education
  • Philosophy and Theory of Education
  • Schools Studies
  • Teaching Skills and Techniques



Performance objectives, often referred to as performance measures, are written statements that quantitatively describe the products, services, and outcomes of programs, agencies, or interventions. Most often, performance objectives/measures serve as a tool to help understand, manage, and improve how programs or organizations operate and the extent to which they effect desired change. Performance Measurement and Evaluation: Definitions and Relationships (US General Accounting Office 2011 [GAO-11-646sp], cited under General Overviews) provides the following definition: “Performance measurement is the ongoing monitoring and reporting of program accomplishments, particularly progress toward pre-established goals . . . Performance measures may address the type or level of program activities conducted (process), the direct products and services delivered by a program (outputs), or the results of those products and services (outcomes). A “program” may be any activity, project, function, or policy that has an identifiable purpose or set of objectives.” Performance measurement is an important practice in the public and nonprofit sectors of the United States and in many countries around the world. Executive and legislative initiatives require program administrators, contractors, and grantees to identify performance measures, set performance targets, and report on their progress toward meeting performance goals. As a result, program administrators and mangers frequently seek help in designing and implementing performance measurement strategies and systems. Often this support is provided by program evaluators, who bring stakeholders together to clarify program goals and determine how best to report results. Many of the citations included in this article are intended to provide readers with the skills to develop and implement “performance-measurement frameworks,” although the terms performance objectives, performance measures, and performance indicators are used interchangeably by different authors. A review of the literature in this area demonstrates that although there is some variation in the terminology used across different fields, performance measures or performance objectives always include a number and a unit of measure. In some cases, they may also be associated with goals (sometimes referred to as objectives, too). The citations in this article are intended to direct readers to works that define performance measurement and provide instructions on how to apply these constructs to individual programs or interventions. This article concludes with a brief section on tools and techniques related to the development of performance objectives/measure; this final section provides citations on examples and instructions for creating logic models, part of the performance-measurement framework, as well as specifics on writing performance objectives and measures.

Article.  7251 words. 

Subjects: Education ; Organization and Management of Education ; Philosophy and Theory of Education ; Schools Studies ; Teaching Skills and Techniques

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