Performance measurement is essential to foster organizational and programmatic improvement. It tells you what part of your program are, or are not working, as expected. It is also integral to program management, to inform strategy and planning, site selection, project implementation, and reporting to stakeholders.

AmeriCorps expects all applicants and grantees to use National Performance Measures as part of a comprehensive performance measurement strategy that relies on both performance and evaluation data to learn from their work and make tactical and strategic adjustments to achieve their goals.

The following course are the National Performance Measurement Core Curriculum series. It is recommended that you take the courses in the sequence they are offered.

1. Overview of Performance Measurement

This self-paced module is the first in a series on performance measurement and provides a general overview. This module will help you understand performance measurement in the context of AmeriCorps programming and how it can be useful in program management. You will also understand how AmeriCorps approaches performance measurement and how performance measures will be used to tell the National Service story.

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2. Designing Effective Action for Change

A well-conceived Theory of Change helps identify the pathway linking your service activities to your intended outcomes, clarifying the cause-and-effect relationship at the heart of your program. This module is designed to give you an overview of Theory of Change. By the end of the module, you will understand the elements needed to construct a Theory of Change and how it informs program design.

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3. Building Evidence of Effectiveness

The term “evidence-based intervention” describes service activities that are supported by research to indicate a high likelihood that the intervention will address the need and result in intended outcomes. This module provides detailed information on evidence and how using evidence can help you select an effective intervention. You will understand what evidence is, where to find strong evidence, and how to use evidence to tell you which intervention is likely to work for your situation.

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4. High Quality Performance Measurement

This tutorial addresses performance measurement concepts and practices. The module will help you understand how to strengthen your performance measures including the importance of checking alignment of the elements of the Theory of Change, alignment of the output and outcome, and key criteria necessary to ensure that your outcome is both meaningful and realistic.

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5. Collecting High Quality Outcome Data, Part 1

This tutorial provides information on collecting high-quality data to measure program results. This module will help you recognize the benefits of collecting high-quality data, use your theory of change to think about measurement, identify and evaluate the merits of various data sources and instruments, and understand appropriate uses for common data collection methods.

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6. Collecting High Quality Outcome Data, Part 2

This self-paced module provides information on the steps to implement data collection, including developing a data collection schedule, training data collectors, and pilot testing instruments. You will also learn how to recognize data quality as it related to reliability, validity, and minimizing sources of bias.

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