Tailor your strategy to establish goals, objectives and outcomes and define measures, criteria for success and activities.

Establish an Assessment Plan

Assessment plans should include the following elements.


A goal is a desired result that you envision and then plan and commit to achieve. Goal statements should align with the vision and mission of the unit. The statements should also guide the assessment plan and inform what data should be collected. Goals should be broad enough to encompass objectives and outcomes, yet specific enough to direct the unit’s efforts. How to write an effective goal statement.


An objective statement summarizes the actual occurrence or final product resulting from the plan discussed in the goal statement. Objectives describe the intended results of the unit’s processes, services or activities. The statements communicate the direction of the unit activities and provide insight to what is valuable to the unit accomplishing its goals. The statements should follow the SMART guidelines (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive) and be consistent with the overall mission for the unit. How to write an effective objective statement.


An outcome is a statement of what the audience will be able to do, what they would have learned or what they would have experienced by the end of the activity or event. Administrative outcomes can focus on how a unit or service will impact a student in terms of knowledge, skills, attitude or values. How to write an effective outcome statement.


Measures are the data collection strategies, methods and tools that act as indicators and sources of evidence to assess outcomes and objectives. Measures are usually divided into two categories: direct and indirect. Direct measures capture actual performance and provide key insight into the experience or learning. Indirect measures capture the attitudes, perceptions or feelings about the experience or learning that is taking place.

Metrics / Criteria for Success

Metrics and criteria for success are used interchangeably to define the acceptable performance measures used to track achievement. Metrics refer to the quantitative values to define the success levels. Criteria for success refers to the quantitative and qualitative values to define the success levels.


A target is the score that represents a desired success level. Although like metrics and criteria for success, the target is the success level you hope to achieve. Metrics and criteria for success are the acceptable achievement levels that signify success. For example, your criteria for success may be at a 75 percent satisfaction rate while your target is a 90 percent satisfaction rate. Targets are aspirational achievement levels.


Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are great resources to determine what to focus on and help define success levels. It is a type of performance measurement that helps you understand how your organization, department or institution is performing and allows you to understand if you’re headed in the right direction with your strategy.