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Outcomes Based Evaluation

Outcome based evaluation measures whether the OD programme made a real difference in the lives of people and the performance of the organisation. At the start of the OD programme the OD practitioner with the key stakeholders from the organisation will have identified the desired outcomes required from the programme both in terms of Return on Investment and Return on Expectations.  These outcomes will be prioritized and measurements will be developed to reflect progress towards these outcomes, referring to specific interventions and the creation of targets for those outcomes.


In order to conduct an outcome based evaluation it is important to identify information needed to analyze those measures, and ascertain the best way to gather that information.

Penna, R., and Phillips, W describe eight models for applying outcome-based evaluation in The Evaluation Exchange Volume XI, Number 2, Summer 2005.

Overview of Eight Outcome Evaluation Models

Key Concepts
Strong Points
Well Suited For
Program Planning/Management 1. Logic Model Diagrammatic representation of a programme, showing what it is supposed to do, with whom, and why Inputs, outputs, outcomes; arrows show relationships between elements in the model Easy to use; provides easily understood representation of programmes’s theory of change Program overview; presentations; program and evaluation planning
2. Outcome Funding Framework Key management focus on the achievement of specific, sequential results; emphasis on results, not activity Investor return, results, key milestones, performance targets, outcome statement Highly disciplined approach that serves both programme investors and practitioners; Web-based software has strengthened usability Government and philanthropic grantmaking; programme and organization management
3. Results-
Based Account-
Real-time approach that describes what desired results look like, defines results in measurable terms, and uses measures to drive action plans for improvement Results, experience, indicators, baselines, strategy, action plan and budget, accountability Thorough system for planning change efforts and improvements in programme, agency, or system performance; uses lay language and provides direct link to budgeting; useful for integrating different outcome systems Project planning and start-up; development of team report cards; programme/agency improvement plans and budgets; budgeting and evaluation design
4. Targeting Outcomes of Programs Tracking progress toward achievement targets; evaluating degree to which programmes impact targeted conditions Knowledge, attitude, skills, and aspiration; process, outcome, and impact evaluation Fairly easy to use; helps integrate programme development and evaluation; practitioners and managers can use same concepts Programme design and evaluation
Program and Resource Alignment 5. Balanced Scorecard Business-based model designed to provide integrated management and accounting for multiple variables impacting organization performance by connecting them to a set of performance indicators Strategy, alignment, short- and long-term objectives; financial and nonfinancial measures; lagging and leading indicators; performance measures and drivers; internal and external indices of success Allows for a graphic assessment of the degree to which an organization’s resources and efforts support its goals Monitoring either a single program with several associated initiatives or multiple programs within an organization; analyzing alignment of resources and initiatives to strategic targets
Program Reporting 6. Scales and Ladders Graphic tool that centers around a series of scales and their placement within a matrix designed to illustrate progress along a continuum of stages Scales; mutually exclusive, multiple, and floating indicators Places an organisation, team or intervention on a continuum; shows incremental and relative progress, stabilization, or decline; individual data together tell a complete story; behaviorally anchored description of levels of change Demonstration of aggregate progress; measuring concepts that are not easily quantified
7. Results Mapping Outcome-based evaluation tool designed to systematically capture otherwise nonquantifiable anecdotal evidence Causal and synchronistic attribution; levels and milestones Way to systemize, standardize, gather, and utilize lessons embedded in anecdotal information Turning anecdotal information into a useful tool for programme presentation, evaluation, and assessment
8. Program Results Story Uses stories to capture organizations’ achievements and present them in a results-based format Results, stories, anecdotal evidence Easily understood approach for presenting results; brings outcomes to human interest level; captures and conveys richness of information Presenting program and results to multiple audiences