MEASURING OUTCOMES

Outcome measurement is not a passing fad. In the years ahead, collecting data on benefits for program participants will be as common as collecting data on the number of program participants is today. Measurement methods and tools will have been refined, there will be greater agreement on terminology and criteria, and the subject will be part of the core curriculum in college and university courses for human service professionals.

Currently, however, the concept is relatively new and many issues are unresolved. There is debate over whether certain events are outputs, outcomes, or another kind of result. There is consternation over how to measure some outcomes and what surrogates can be used for outcomes that defy direct measurement. There is tension between the need for technically sound methodologies, which can be expensive and time consuming, and the staffing, funding, and workload realities that constrain nearly all service agencies.

This manual does not pretend to resolve these issues. It does, however, lay groundwork that will continue to be tested and refined. As the field progresses, the manual will be revised and updated. For now, its purpose is to provide help for those committed to improving the quality of life of people they serve.

For more information, please contact Srabanti Sarkar, VP Community Building, at 908-353-7171 x125.

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