Choosing a Program to Show Outcomes

Choose a project whose impact you want to know and be able to report. Any LSTA-funded project that supports your State's Five-Year Plan and meets the criteria below is potentially appropriate.

Choose a project with a concrete, clearly-defined audience. "Parents of newborns in Appalachacola County," "fifth-grade teachers and students in the Calamahari School District," or "migrant workers with low literacy skills in Monterey, Dakota," are all examples of clearly-defined audiences for which outcome measurement is possible. “All citizens of the State” are nearly impossible to evaluate (or to reach).

Choose a project that intends to create outcomes — knowledge, skills, attitudes, or behaviors for participants. For example, Born to Read programs hope to create a behavior (frequent reading to young children), and a knowledge (early reading experiences support child development and later academic success). Don't choose a project that will simply provide each library in the State with hardware, information content, or other materials resource. (For our purposes, "access" is a good thing, but not an outcome.)

Choose a project that is designed to provide several contacts with each participant over time, as in a staff technology training program or a literacy program. An institutional infrastructure program (e.g. computer purchases) or a state-wide electronic database or ILL program is not normally a good candidate for OBPE.

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