Results-Based Management Tip Sheet No. 3.2 – Outcomes, Indicators, Baseline, Targets and Actual Data: What’s the Difference?

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This information is a companion to the Results-Based Management (RBM) for International Assistance Programming at Global Affairs Canada: A How-to Guide.

It provides an overview so that you can see the difference between outcomes, indicators, baseline, targets and actual data. This information provides an example of how these RBM components can be used in project reports.

Expected outcomes:

Indicators (performance indicators):

Baseline data:

Targets:

Actual data:

Example No. 1: Pulling it all TogetherFootnote 2- A snapshot using one outcome and indicator from a five-year education project

Planning Stage: Selected Elements/Columns of a Performance Measurement FrameworkReporting Stage (3rd year of a 5-year project)
Expected OutcomesIndicatorsFootnote 3Baseline DataEnd of Project TargetsActual Data
Intermediate Outcome Level

Improved proficiency in math by girls and boys in primary school in District Y in country X

%/total of District Y Grade V children (girls/boys) tested, who score a minimum 60/100 on a standardized math test.

40% of District Y Grade V girls (out of 1,123 girls) tested, scored a minimum 60/100 on a standardized math test in 2010.

50% of District Y Grade V boys (out of 1,245 of boys) tested, scored a minimum 60/100 on a standardized math test in 2010.

70% of District Y Grade V girls (out of total number of girls) tested, scored a minimum 60/100 on a standardized math test in 2015.

70% of District Y Grade V boys (out of total number of boys) tested, scored a minimum 60/100 on a standardized math test in 2015.

50% of District Y Grade V girls (out of 1,215 girls) tested, scored a minimum 60/100 on a standardized math test in 2013

60% of District Y Grade V boys (out of 1,312 boys) tested, scored a minimum 60/100 on a standardized math test in 2013.

Example No. 2: Using data collected on the indicators as evidence of progress toward the expected outcome in a narrative report

Since the start of the project three years ago, there has been a significant improvement in math proficiency for both girls and boys in primary school in District Y in Country X. Out of 1,215 female Grade V students tested in 2013, 50% scored a minimum 60/100 in math. This is an increase of 25% from the baseline of 40% in 2010. Likewise, out of 1,312 male Grade V students tested in 2013, 60% scored a minimum 60/100 in math. This is an increase of 20% from the baseline of 50%. This means that more Grade V students are passing the standardized math test than was the case at the beginning of the project. This also means that there is a greater possibility that students will transition to lower secondary-school after successfully completing primary school.

Note: This is a five-year project. The improved proficiency in math by the Grade V girls and boys (intermediate outcome) stems from other results in this project’s logic model, such as improvement in teachers’ gender-sensitive pedagogical skills (immediate outcome) and their better use of the new, improved math textbooks and other teaching learning materials (intermediate outcome). While the girls’ improvement is greater than that of their male counterparts (25% versus 20% improvement in the math test pass rate of 60/100), the project will be challenged to ensure the girls catch up with the boys by the end of the project.


Updated: July 2017
These tools will be updated annually as required. Enquiries or feedback on this tip sheet should be directed to: Results-Based Management Centre of Excellence, Operational Direction and Coherence, International Assistance Operations Bureau, Global Affairs Canada
Email: gar.rbm@international.gc.ca

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