One question you might ask deserves special attention:

Is there data worth noting year-to-year that would be useful to you that you don’t have? The reason you may not have the data is because it doesn’t come naturally or easy. You can easily measure how many people come to a performance, for example; however, that may not be the most useful data. If you’re measuring what matters, you might be more interested in how people felt about the performance. If you want that data, you have to ask for it. You have to design some way to get that answer.

Think about what kinds of data you might use. What data would be worth noting year to year that would help you talk about your work? Some examples:

  • Quality of experience: How do you ask your clients about the quality of your work
  • Institutional reputation: How would you measure reputation? What if you “googled” yourself and counted how many matches there were? Or counted references in the press to your organization? Counted how many visitors you have from out of state? Why did they come from out of state?
  • Standards of governance: What percentage of your board members could say clearly and concisely the mission of your organization and the top three strategic priorities of this year?
  • Management priorities and achievements: What percentage of your priorities were met and at what level?

(Now, you couldn’t answer that question unless you have spelled out what your priorities are. You can’t have a good assessment system unless you have done the work of defining what’s worth assessing – what do you most care about?)

Remember, Data is Feedback. Just as with getting timely, contextual feedback from people, you have to first decide what matters and then design to get the information you need.

The beauty of an assessment system is if you measure what you value, people value what you measure.

For non-linear browsing of the online Assessment Workshop click on the links below:

How To Navigate This Workshop

You may choose to go through this workshop in a linear, page by page fashion, by clicking on the "Next" and "Previous" buttons at the bottom of each step.

If you want to browse through the steps, jump around, or need to go back a few steps, use the "non-linear" menu of steps at the bottom of each page.

If you are familiar with this workshop, and you are looking to refresh your memory, we think the following steps about the Rubric, which is the tool at the heart of this workshop, might be most useful to you: