There are a variety of assessment strategies from which to choose. Keep in mind that each strategy has advantages and disadvantages. Because no measurement is perfect, we recommend the use of multiple measures in assessing any outcome. While indirect measures can provide valuable information, we recommend all administrative and educational support units have at least one direct measure of meeting operational outcomes.
Indirect measures are typically reports or other non-performance-based indicators of outcome achievement. These may include survey results, focus groups, or recording of staff perceptions. Although indirect measures offer important information, indirect measures are not looked upon as favorably as direct measures. Indirect measures are most valuable when used in conjunction with direct measures.
Examples of indirect measures:
- Surveys of students, alums, or employers
- Focus groups of stakeholders, e.g. students, faculty, staff, community leaders
- Employee exit interviews
- An external review of the unit
- Staff professional development perceptions
Direct measures require the evaluation of actual performance-based indicators. Documented results of increased space utilization, reductions in paper usage, or an increase in staff technology use could support an outcome seeking to increase efficiencies. Direct measures imply that there is an end-result or change that can be evaluated or measured.
Examples of direct measures:
- Decrease in wait time
- Increase in counts (e.g. number of customers served)
- Reductions in cost of performance
- Growth in service capacity