Example Performance Measures You Can Use For Your Program Or Service

Designing Effective Performance Measures

This section contains information about how to design effective performance measures using the 4 quadrants of performance measure method.  Below are lists of example performance measures and important tips for many different sectors.

A good performance measure gives you and your staff the ability to make changes and see whether those changes improve the agency/division/program’s performance, that is, its ability to improve customers/clients’ quality of life.

Importantly, performance measures are data – they quantitatively measure the agency/division/ program’s performance. The following Data Quadrant is a useful tool for sorting and categorizing performance measures.  All performance measures fit into one of four categories. The categories, the four quadrants, are derived from the intersection of quantity and quality and effort and effect.

The figure shows how these combinations lead to three universal performance measures: How much did we do? How well did we do it? Is anyone better off? The most important performance measures are those that tell us whether our clients or customers are better off as a consequence of receiving the services (“client results,” the lower left and right quadrants). The second most important measures are those that tell us whether the service or activity is done well (upper right quadrant). The least important measures are those that tell us what and how much we do.

To see example performance measures for administrative functions like personnel and budgeting check out this page.

performance-measures four quadrants selection tool
performance-measure-selection-criteria-clear-impact

Free Performance Measures Workbook – The Results-Based Accountability™ Guide

Design your own effective performance measures with the RBA Guide, a step-by-step roadmap to learn how to lead or facilitate a group in the use of RBA decision making.

Download the RBA Guide to learn how to:

  • follow a simple, common sense process
  • start with ends and work backward towards means
  • design performance measures that provide the greatest insights
  • rank performance measures based on their communication, proxy, and data power to find the ones that matter most
  • get from talk to action quickly
  • use data and transparency to ensure accountability
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Generic
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # Customers Served
  • # Program Participants
  • # Products Shipped
  • # Goods Created
How Well We Do It
  • Program Attendance Rate
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Client/Staff ratio
  • Staff turnover rate
  • Staff morale (usually from surveys)
  • Percent of staff with training/certification
  • Percent of customers seen in their own language
  • Staff safety (usually accident or injury claim rate)
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • #/% of satisfied customers (with service delivery functions)
  • #/% of improved customers after 6 months
  • Cost/Benefit Ratio
  • Return on Investment
Additional Thoughts on Generic Performance Measures
These generic examples show the breakdown of what types of measures belong in each category.  They also demonstrate different types of measures that you can choose to track a program’s performance.  Each category and measure has a specific service or product that it is best applied to so there is no one “best” performance measure, however, the Is Anyone Better Off measures are always the most important when considering a program’s true impact.  Back to top.

Cost
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • Total Cost
  • Is anyone better off? – quantity
  • Benefit Value
  • Amount Surplus/Deficit
  • Program Specific Measures
How Well We Do It
  • Unit Cost
  • Percent growth in expenditure
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • Cost Benefit Ratio
  • Return on Investment
  • Percent Surplus/Deficit
Additional Thoughts on Cost Performance Measure
These measures are the standard cost measures which fall in each quadrant. The most difficult of these to obtain is “Is Anyone Better Off” category. The cost benefit ratio equals the lower left over the upper left quadrant values.  Back to top.

Education
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # students
  • # days of instruction
  • # parent teacher conferences
How Well We Do It
  • Student – Teacher ratio
  • % faculty certified in the subject they teach
  • % buildings without major maintenance requirements
  • % parents involved in school
  • Average expenditure per student
  • Ave daily attendance reimbursement as % of total possible
  • % non-traditional enrollment
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % Reading scores at or above grade
  • % Math scores at or above grade
  • % with good attendance
  • % students in extracurricular activities
  • Graduation rate (% of 9th graders who graduate on time 4 years later)
  • % graduates in school or jobs 1, 2, 5 years after graduation
  • % placement in jobs related to training

Special Education
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # Special education students by type of disability
  • # IEP’s prepared / reviewed
  • # Special education teachers
  • # parents/ teachers involved in IEP development
How Well We Do It
  • % Special Education students receiving most of their education in regular education classrooms
  • % IEP’s meeting time requirements
  • % parents involved in school
  • % receiving all required IEP services
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % with improved reading scores from last quarter
  • % with improved math scores from last quarter
  • % Student and family satisfaction with support and progress
  • Graduation rate (% of 9th graders who graduate on time 4 years later)
  • % graduates in school or jobs 1, 2, 5 years after graduation
  • % Teen pregnancy or STD

Juvenile Justice
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # Youth in custody
  • # Youth on probation
  • # Youth in Juvenile Hall
How Well We Do It
  • % in community based vs. institutional care
  • % intake screenings on time
  • Ratio of youth to probation officers
  • % of Juvenile Hall capacity occupied
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • Recidivism rate – % exiting custody with no repeat offense in 6, 12, 24 months
  • Rate of probation violation
  • % youth in school or jobs
Additional Thoughts on Juvenile Justice Performance Measures
There are several powerful and important population indicators which are closely associated with juvenile justice, most important of these the juvenile crime rate and the violent crime rate.  These should be treated in the same way as any other public health population indicator.
The Juvenile Justice agency can take the lead in assembling and working with a broad partnership. But the agency is not solely responsible for these indicators, any more than the Health Department is responsible for the rate of HIV. In such situations, the agency should present its report on performance in two parts. Part one shows the population indicators, story behind the baselines, partners and what works strategy in the same way as any matter of population  well-being. Part two shows the agency’s performance on the most important of the above performance measures.  Back to top.

Adult Corrections
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # adults in custody
  • # drug screening tests
How Well We Do It
  • Inmate/staff ratio
  • % positive drug screenings
  • Disruptive incidents per month
  • % inmates receiving drug treatment
  • % inmates receiving mental health services
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • Rate of escapes
  • Rate of recidivism
  • % inmates who get and keep jobs 6, 12 months after release
Additional Thoughts on Adult Corrections Performance Measures
There are several powerful and important population indicators which are closely associated with corrections, most important of these the crime rate and the violent crime rate.  These should be treated in the same way as any other public health population indicator.
The Corrections agency can take the lead in assembling and working with a broad partnership. But the agency is not solely responsible for these indicators, any more than the Health Department is responsible for the rate of HIV. In such situations, the agency should present its report on performance in two parts. Part one shows the population indicators, story behind the baselines, partners and what works strategy in the same way as any matter of population  well-being. Part two shows the agency’s performance on the most important of the above performance measures. Back to top.

Mental Health – Youth
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # clients (by diagnosis)
  • # beds
  • # outpatient clients
  • # hours of therapy
How Well We Do It
  • % intake and assessments
  • % occupancy
  • % bilingual staff
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % youth who show improved CAFAS scores from last quarter
  • % Youth in school or working
  • % Youth with attendance and grades as good or better than last quarter
Additional Thoughts on Mental Health – Youth Performance Measures
There are several powerful and important population indicators which are closely associated with mental health, most important of these the prevalence of mental illness.  These should be treated in the same way as any other public health population indicator.
The Mental Health agency can take the lead in assembling and working with a broad partnership. But the agency is not solely responsible for these indicators, any more than the Health Department is responsible for the rate of HIV. In such situations, the agency should present its report on performance in two parts. Part one shows the population indicators, story behind the baselines, partners and what works strategy in the same way as any matter of population  well-being. Part two shows the agency’s performance on the most important of the above performance measures.  Back to top.

Mental Health – Adults
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # clients (by diagnosis)
  • # beds
  • # outpatient clients
  • # hours of therapy
How Well We Do It
  • % intake and assessments on time
  • % occupancy
  • Waiting list
  • Average hours of therapy per client
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • % clients who “recover” (defined as lessening of diagnosis symptoms below DSM definition)
  • % clients in school or working
  • % readmissions

Additional Thoughts on Mental Health – Adults Performance Measures

There are several powerful and important population indicators which are closely associated with mental health, most important of these the prevalence of mental illness.  These should be treated in the same way as any other public health population indicator.
The Mental Health agency can take the lead in assembling and working with a broad partnership. But the agency is not solely responsible for these indicators, any more than the Health Department is responsible for the rate of HIV. In such situations, the agency should present its report on performance in two parts. Part one shows the population indicators, story behind the baselines, partners and what works strategy in the same way as any matter of population  well-being. Part two shows the agency’s performance on the most important of the above performance measures.  Back to top.

Economic Development
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # Business contacts
How Well We Do It
  • Ranking on “business friendly”
  • environment
  • Average time from inquiry to response
  • % Business responses to contact
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • Rate of job growth from new businesses
  • Rate of living wage job growth
  • % of revenues paid by businesses
  • # new jobs from new businesses
Additional Thoughts on Economic Development Performance Measures
There are several powerful and important population indicators which are closely associated with economic development, including growth in GNP and unemployment rate.  These should be treated in the same way as any other population indicator.
The Economic Development agency can take the lead in assembling and working with a broad partnership to improve these numbers. But the agency is not solely responsible for these indicators, any more than the Health Department is responsible for the rate of HIV. In such situations, the agency should present its report on performance in two parts. Part one shows the population indicators, story behind the baselines, partners and what works strategy in the same way as any matter of population  well-being. Part two shows the agency’s performance on the most important of the above performance measures.  Back to top.

Child Welfare
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # Foster Children served
  • # Child Abuse Investigations
  • # Adoption recruitment sessions
How Well We Do It
  • Caseload to worker ratio
  • % Foster children placed in their original neighborhood / school catchment area
  • Ave number of changed foster care placements
  • % Investigations initiated within 24 hours
  • % attending who apply for adoption
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • #/% Foster children in stable permanent living arrangements after 6 months in care.
  • #/% Repeat abuse/neglect cases
  • #/% of Foster Children with good school attendance
  • #/% of Foster Children reading at grade level
  • Rate of adoptions stable after 6 months
Additional Thoughts on Child Welfare Performance Measures
There are two powerful and important population indicators which are closely associated with child welfare: Rate of foster care and Rate of child abuse per 100,000 children. These should be treated in the same way as any other public health population indicator.
The child welfare agency can take the lead in assembling and working with a broad partnership. But the agency is not solely responsible for these indicators, any more than the Health Department is responsible for the rate of HIV. In such situations, the agency should present its report on performance in two parts. Part one shows the population indicators, story behind the baselines, partners and what works strategy in the same way as any matter of population  well-being. Part two shows the agency’s performance on the most important of the above performance measures.  Back to top.

Welfare to Work
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # Foster Children served
  • # Child Abuse Investigations
  • # Adoption recruitment sessions
How Well We Do It
  • Caseload to worker ratio
  • % Foster children placed in their original neighborhood / school catchment area
  • Ave number of changed foster care placements
  • % Investigations initiated within 24 hours
  • % attending who apply for adoption
Is Anyone Better Off?
  • #/% Foster children in stable permanent living arrangements after 6 months in care.
  • #/% Repeat abuse/neglect cases
  • #/% of Foster Children with good school attendance
  • #/% of Foster Children reading at grade level
  • Rate of adoptions stable after 6 months
Additional Thoughts on Welfare to Work Performance Measures
There are several powerful and important population indicators which are closely associated with welfare: Poverty rate, Rate of entry onto welfare, and Percentage of families with a living wage. These should be treated in the same way as any other public health population indicator. The TANF / Welfare to Work agency can take the lead in assembling and working with a broad partnership. But the agency is not solely responsible for these indicators, any more than the Health Department is responsible for the rate of HIV. In such situations, the agency should present its report on performance in two parts. Part one shows the population indicators, story behind the baselines, partners and what works strategy in the same way as any matter of population  well-being. Part two shows the agency’s performance on the most important of the above performance measures.  Back to top.

Business/Private Sector
Example Performance Measures

What We Do
  • # Production Hours
  • # Resources Used
  • # Products Created
How Well We Do It
  • Employees per product produced
  • Customer/Employee Retention Rate
  • Staff Morale
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Overhead Ratio
Product Output
  • % Market Share
  • $ Profit Per Product
  • % Product Value After 2 Years
  • Cost/Benefit Ratio
  • Return on Investment
  • % Company Value Growth Year Over Year
Additional Thoughts on Business/Private Sector Performance Measures
The 4 quadrant performance measure design described above accounts for all performance measures and these broad examples are an attempt to back that claim up.

A lot of us grew up with the terms “efficiency” and “effectiveness” as the terms of art in performance measurement. And you would think, considering their age and venerability, that they would somehow account for all performance measures. But interestingly enough they don’t. Efficiency is only one type of measure in the upper right quadrant. Effectiveness shares the stage with many other measures.

Other measures, in addition to efficiency,  answer the question “How well did we deliver services.”  Back to top.

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