Phase I: Specify & Plan

During this first phase, the focus is on identifying:

  • Goals and outcomes
  • Information and measures needed to examine the effectiveness of these outcomes
  • Criteria to determine if you have achieved the goals and outcomes
  • Which measures are key performance indicators

I. Goals

Units with co-curricular initiatives begin Phase 1 by identifying goals. During this phase, a comprehensive set of 2–4 co-curricular goals should be identified at the unit level.

Goals are general long-term aims or purposes of a unit. Goals should reflect the charge of the unit and align with its mission. Goals should be broadly stated, meaningful, achievable, and provide a framework for identifying outcomes.

Co-curricular units should focus on identifying both operational and student-focused goals.

Student-Focused Goals

Definition

Student-focused goals are the long-term aims or purposes of a unit that address the education or development of students.

They should be written using active verbs that describe what students should be able to do, know, or produce over time as a result of participation in the unit.

Example

Decrease students’ high-risk drinking.

Student-focused goals should address aims related to student learning and development.

Operational Goals

Definition

Operational goals are the general long-term aims or purposes of a unit that address general components such as efficiency, communication, and support systems of the unit.

Example

Ensure the planned services are maintained in a fiscally responsible manner.

Operational goals should address functional efficiency and effectiveness of the unit programs, services, support systems, and processes.

II. Outcomes

Once the goals have been identified, associated outcomes should be written. When writing these statements, remember that outcomes should be specific, measurable, and attainable within an anticipated timeframe.

Student-focused goals should be broken down into either learning outcomes or developmental outcomes. For example, the student-focused goal of “Decrease students’ high-risk drinking” is further broken down into student learning outcomes and student developmental outcomes, as well as operational outcomes. The definitions of each of these types of outcomes and examples are provided below.

Student Learning Outcomes

Definition

Learning outcomes are statements describing specific student behaviors that evidence the acquisition of desired knowledge, skills, abilities, capacities, attitudes, or dispositions.

They should be written using active verbs that describe what students should be able to do, know, or produce over time as a result of participation in a co-curricular unit. (See Appendix B: Learning and Developmental Outcome Action Verbs)

Example

Students who complete the Making Good Decisions Program will be able to identify strategies to reduce the negative consequences of high-risk drinking.

 

Student Developmental Outcomes

Definition

Developmental outcomes describe the affective dimensions to be instilled or enhanced; assess affective dimensions or attitudes and values (not cognitive abilities); and consider growth in ethical, spiritual, emotional, and social responsibility dimensions (Bresciani, 2001; Denny, 2009 as cited in Culp & Dungy, 2012). These outcomes may detail how students exhibit an increase in self discipline, become more respectful of others’ values, involve themselves in community service, engage in reflective spirituality, etc.

Example

Students who participate in Office of Health Promotion alcohol awareness programming will encourage others students to drink responsibly.

 

Operational Outcomes

Definition

Operational outcomes are specific statements of what the overall goal is intended to achieve. They should be written using active verbs that describe what the unit will do to ensure the goal is attainable.

Example

The Office of Health Promotion will offer alcohol awareness and educational programs on a monthly basis to promote healthy choices concerning the use of alcohol.

III. Direct and Indirect Measures

For each operational outcome, at least one measure should be identified. Operational measures should provide information and evidence to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes, services, support systems, and programs that relate to the ability of the unit to achieve their goals.

For each student-focused outcome, identify both direct and indirect measures that provide information and evidence to determine how well the unit is achieving its goals. While there is no specific amount of evidence or number of measures expected per outcome, each outcome should have appropriate measures to ensure that its success can be assessed.

Direct measures are viewed as stronger evidence because they provide information of actual student learning or development, or operational outcomes. Below is an example of a specified direct measure tied to a specific learning outcome.

Outcome Example

Direct Measure

Students who complete the Making Good Decisions Program will be able to use strategies to reduce the negative consequences of high-risk drinking.

In end-of-workshop role-play situations, students will use strategies presented during the program.

Indirect measures operate best as a support to the information gathered through direct measures. Information is often gathered through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Therefore, it reflects the opinions and perceptions about an outcome that may have been measured directly. Below is an example of a specified indirect measure tied to a specific developmental learning outcome.

Outcome Example

Indirect Measure

Students who participate in Office of Health Promotion alcohol educational programming will encourage others students to drink responsibly.

Program survey will include questions asking participants of their perceptions of their ability to encourage responsible drinking.

Why is the survey an indirect measure? While this survey will provide insight to participants’ comfort level, which may be impacted by their learning or development, it does not measure actual actions taken by students. Indirect measures support direct measures as additional evidence. A direct measure for this could be a think-aloud or an observed simulation where participants practice assisting someone in need and are scored using a rubric.

For examples of direct and indirect measures, see Appendix C in the Guide for co-curricular units.

IV. Criteria and Key Performance Indicators

Establish criteria for each outcome. The criterion must be indicated for each identified measure and should be realistic. Before setting criteria, you should look at past information about the program or do some research on criteria set at other institutions.

Establish the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each goal.

Key Performance Indicator

Definition

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that provides an indication of performance of specific outcomes. It can be used as a driver for improvement.

Example

For Developmental Outcome: Students who participate in Office of Health Promotion alcohol educational programming will encourage others students to drink responsibly.

Key Performance Indicator

  • Measure: Reported EMIs
  • Criteria: 25% drop in EMIs