Posts Tagged outcomes

A measure of success

2008.11.24 - Things you don't believe when you're 16 by Adrian Clark

Is he counting what he can easily measure or measuring what counts?

One of the significant changes in the new Matrix quality assurance framework for careers services is an increased emphasis on evaluating the outcomes of our work with clients.

The most significant changes are the increased focus on outcomes, competence of staff, commitment to continuous improvement, service delivery linked to outcomes and responses to information technology advances.

A few services who have stuck with collecting more traditional feedback on their services have been judged as falling short in this area. Just asking clients whether they found a session useful or interesting is not enough any more (if it ever was).

In the Value and Impact Toolkit developed by the Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education (AMOSSHE), measures of impact are differentiated from measures of satisfaction.

Impact is about change, which implies that a situation needs to be evaluated before an action to stimulate change takes place, and after to determine whether indeed change has taken place. Impact might also be evaluated in terms of the effect of an activity on different groups; for example, students might attend a particular programme on a voluntary basis, so impact might be measured after the programme takes place in relation to the knowledge levels of those who attended against those who did not attend.

So what else could you measure and what would it tell you about the impact you are having?

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What is our output?

Audio by Sergiu Bacioiu

So, do your dials go up to 11?

I’ve been having some very interesting conversations lately on LinkedIn groups.

In one discussion, a Canadian career service manager described how his team had been increasingly using the term ‘career literacy’ to describe what they were trying to develop in their students. He asked what we thought of the term.

Part of me really likes the idea of literacy as a set of skills that enables you to interact with information. According to the UNESCO definition, literacy involves “a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society“. That fits rather well with the aims of a careers service.

My reservation with the term is that, in a university setting, literacy could be interpreted as rather a basic level of learning. By the time students have reached university, they should have gone beyond literacy and be operating in the realm of analysis and critical thinking. Would it have face value with the academic community?

So, what other terms could we use and what would they imply? Can we come up with something which appeals to those who are looking at immediate solutions as well as giving a strong message about developing an ability to deal with issues over the entire course of your career?

This kicked the random word generator in my brain into overdrive and I tried to come up with a range of phrases to describe what we are trying to nurture in our clients.
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