Indicators for evaluation

Indicators are necessary to help determine what data needs to be collected to assist in assessing the progress of the program and if it is on track to achieving its goals and objectives. For example, an objective may be to improve social skills. Indicators used to monitor the progress in terms of achieving this objective could include participants’ ability to adhere to group values/norms; management of emotions and development of positive conflict resolution skills.

Process indicators

Process indicators monitor the implementation of the program as well as program inputs. Program input indicators are related to:

  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
  • Administrative resources
  • Equipment required.

Process indicators for the program itself monitor how well the program is implemented, if it is reaching the intended target and if it is of an acceptable quality.
Program reach indicators include:

  • Number of participants
  • Proportion of the target population participating in the program
  • The proportion of that participants attend or are involved in (dose received)
  • Dropout rate
  • Number of key stakeholders involved.

Participant satisfaction can be assessed using the following indicators:

  • Do participants feel comfortable, listened to and understood?
  • Are other participants and staff friendly and approachable?
  • Is the venue and set up appropriate to the audience and the group activities?
  • Is the program affordable and run at convenient times?
  • Do the topics covered meet the program’s purposes, and are they interesting and relevant?
  • Are the topics too confronting, too complex or covered adequately?

Program implementation can be assessed using the following indicators:

  • Number of workshops conducted
  • All activities were implemented
  • Material used caught people’s attention
  • Materials were easy to comprehend
  • Materials used were appropriate for the target audience
  • Media coverage achieved.

Impact and outcome indicators

Impact indicators monitor the progress of achieving the program’s objectives, which usually relate to some type of short-term changes. In particular impact indicators will usually relate to changes in knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviour. Outcome indicators are used to assess if the program goal has been achieved and are therefore more likely to include actual behaviours, health status and quality of life (longer term changes or changes sustained over time).

Impact indicators may include:

  • Changes in awareness, knowledge and skills
  • Changes in intended behaviour
  • Changes in individual capacity, i.e. confidence, self esteem, social skills, problem solving skills, increased help-seeking behaviour, coping skills and optimism
  • Increased confidence
  • Increased social networks
  • Improved relationships.

Outcome indicators may include:

  • Increased mental wellbeing
  • Increased physical wellbeing
  • Community engagement
  • Increased education
  • Increased employment.

Note: In order to effectively measure impact and outcome indicators, data needs to be collected from the target group at the start of a program.

Please refer to the evaluation framework for peer-based youth programs for more example indicators and more information about identifying suitable indicators for your program.