Program Performance Evaluations (PPE) are foundational to the development and implementation of Birth to Five Strategic (PDGB-5) planning efforts. The intention is to use PPE to support implementation of PDG B-5 strategic plans and data-based decision-making while facilitating collaboration and coordination among existing early childhood programs in a mixed delivery system (MDS). Grantees can use PPE to assess progress toward pre-established goals and objectives identified in their strategic plans, identify opportunities for continuous quality improvement and share lessons learned.
Performance measurement is a simple concept without a simple definition. Essentially, performance measurement analyzes the success of a work group, program, or organization’s efforts by comparing data on what happened to what was planned or intended . Performance measurement asks “Is progress being made toward desired goals? Are appropriate activities being undertaken to promote achieving those goals? Are there problem areas that need attention? Successful efforts that can serve as a model for others?”
The first step to developing high-quality project performance measures is to have strong foundational knowledge about program requirements, the funded grant project, its theory of action (or change), and how the improvements or planned changes are expected to occur
Continuous improvement reporting is particularly important in program performance evaluation because it provides a feedback loop so that implementation can be refined over time to produce the desired changes. The goal is to create a continuous learning environment where data is used consistently to guide programmatic and fiscal decision-making. Priority is given to timely sharing of data rather than extensive analysis in targeted summary briefs or data displays. Briefs or data displays contain descriptive information and the results of preliminary analyses to support discussion and reflection among partners and key stakeholders. They highlight areas for consideration to guide local and state level discussions. Further, they are written for an informed audience usually without extensive experience in statistical analysis.
Performance evaluation and improvement processes rely on high quality data. Outcomes calculated with poor quality data will be misleading.
- Setting SMART goals is essential to ensure that performance improvement efforts are accountable and measurable.
- Performance improvement is an ongoing process of continually evaluating benchmarks, setting goals, and delegating tasks, implementing changes, and evaluating again
Performance measurement is needed as a management tool to clarify goals, document the contribution toward achieving those goals, and document the benefits received from the investment in each program.
What gets measured gets done. – The experts
To improve something, you must be able to change it. To change it you must be able to understand it. To understand it you must be able to measure it.
– An expert
Performance measurement is the regular collection and reporting of data to track work produced and results achieved.
Performance measurement is not something done to you by someone else, but something done together, in partnership, to improve our ability at every level – local, state, regional, and national – to achieve our common goals