How to link targets and measures to your indicators

How to Link Targets and Measures to Your Indicators

The last part of your evaluation plan is to link targets to your indicators and to specify the ‘means of verification’ for each indicator. If you have not done so already, we strongly advise you to go through the ‘Knowledge sections for this step (Plan - Step 5): Indicators – Basic Concepts’ before continuing and ‘Important Things to Understand About Measurement’.

Targets

The target is your estimation on ‘how much’ of your outcome need to be achieved within a certain period of time to achieve the intended impact . You can also set interim and long term targets to realistically reflect achievable performance goals for your programme. Because the means to measure the achievement of your outcome is your indicator, the target will relate to your indicator. If your outcome speaks of improving or increasing something, you might establish a baseline to allow for comparison and inform your targets. Targets should also be influenced by research and the experience of similar programmes, to ensure they are realistic.

Means of verification/measures

The means of verification/measure is a short reference (not a complete methodology) showing ‘how’ you will investigate and establish the performance of the indicator. Your measure could reflect the tool you would use if you know of a relevant tool that exists. For example, to identify pregnant women with mental health risks. you might use the ‘Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale’.  Alternatively a measure can easily be created in some cases. For example, to measure attendance of training an ‘attendance register’ is used.  If there are no relevant standard tools you might indicate your methodology for collecting the information, such as ‘face-to-face interviews’ or ‘pre- & post-tests’. Sometimes there are standard available statistics that can be the source of your data for the indicator. If, for example, your indicator is 'the HIV prevalence rate for a certain population group' your means of verification might be the ‘National Antenatal Sentinel HIV & Syphilis Prevalence Survey for x year’.

It is important that your outcomes, indicators, targets and means of verification align. For example, we sometimes talk about an increase in performance. This implies comparison over time, but the target does not reflect comparison. For example:

  • Outcome: Increase in learner literacy level
  • Indicator: Learner performance on literacy test
  • Target: 80% of learners must pass  (Implying a once-off measurement - it should have been a x% increase from baseline for example)
  • Means of verification: End of year test

As a general guide:

  • When you speak about an increase/improvement/decline in your target should say by how much it should increase and from what status it should increase over a given time period.
  • When you speak about something new happening, or a certain standard that should be achieved, your target will specify the minimum standard that you are looking to achieve. It can either be related to the number of people or to the number of times that they should do something – or both.

Examples:

You can complete your evaluation plan by adding your targets and means of verification to your indicators and outcomes table. If you have not completed it yet, download the template here. Please read through the case studies for this section (Plan-Step 5) and have a look at the example for the New Beginnings Development Centre before you start assigning indicators, targets and measures.

Your complete Monitoring and Evaluation plan should include:

  1. Your Theory of Change/outcomes chain diagram and/or;
  2. You attributes and assumptions table
  3. Your action plan, which might be represented in a log frame, as a table or an expansion of your outcomes chain
  4. Your indicator, target and means of verification table