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Performance Measurement Models

NASAA collects state arts agency (SAA) performance measurement reports to share as examples of the many approaches to applying and presenting performance metrics.

Broadly speaking, the following performance measurements were either developed by SAAs in relation to or as part of their strategic planning, or mandated by state legislatures, state budget offices or other state entities.

Motivations for measurement tools determine not only the metrics SAAs select and but also how they are tracked, packaged and reported. For example, performance measurement efforts emerging out of SAA strategic planning processes often focus on realizing specific program, policy or procedural objectives. In these instances, the primary purpose is SAA improvement, and agencies may enjoy considerable flexibility in organizing and disseminating results. In other cases, SAAs must follow strict guidelines from the executive or legislative branch, which may define the types of metrics used as well as the way performance measurement data is packaged in reports for budget directors and legislative offices.

Examining examples of a variety of reports may provide useful food for thought for any SAA seeking to develop or refine a performance measurement system. For additional examples, see NASAA’s Showcase of State Arts Agency Strategic Plans or contact Ryan Stubbs.

Performance Measurements and Strategic Planning

The following performance metrics were developed by state arts agencies and are part of or directly related to a strategic plan.

Arkansas Arts Council

Five-Year Action Plan (pp. 7-14 of Strategic Plan 2011-2015)

This action plan constitutes a section of the SAA’s FY2011-2015 strategic plan. It describes the objectives, strategies and metrics the SAA used to evaluate its progress toward realizing the strategic plan’s goals.

Arizona Commission on the Arts

Operational and programmatic strategies work plan, FY2014

SAA staff annually develop and implement a work plan, which must be approved by commission members. The plan outlines particular tasks for realizing select strategic plan goals. An output metric and a related time line are aligned with each task and are used to evaluate efforts at the end of the fiscal year. The FY2014 work plan served the FY2011-2016 Strategic Plan.

Montana Arts Council

18-Month Work Plan 2014-2015 and Work Plan Accomplishments FY2013

The work plan describes specific tasks and assigns staff responsibility for them. The accomplishments document indicates which of the tasks are complete and provides an update on the progress of those that are not. Both align with the goals and objectives of the 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, which itself includes “indications of success” and evaluation methods for each goal.

Nebraska Arts Council

Top Ten List 2017-2018

While the SAA’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan includes broad performance measurements for each goal, it does not include detailed work plans because it was designed to be flexible. Instead, the SAA uses “top ten” project lists as annual agendas and benchmarks for year-end performance evaluations.

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts

2014-2018 Strategic Plan Addendum

Complementing the SAA’s 2014-2018 strategic plan, this addendum details performance metrics based on the SAA’s four basic operational domains. The SAA designed the metrics to interlock with its strategic goals and to strike a balance between its aspirations and its capacity. The addendum also describes measurement processes.

New Mexico Arts

Strategic Plan 2016-2018

This is an example of a strategic plan formatted as a matrix showing the progression from goals to results. While concise, the plan is both detailed and clear. For each goal, the matrix outlines the constituent objectives as well as the strategies, programming and performance metrics the SAA will employ to meet them.

Vermont Arts Council

Strategic Plan 2018-2020

This strategic plan includes detailed indicators and performance measures for each of its target “conditions.” The SAA developed these conditions and the entire strategic plan using Results Based Accountability, a data-driven planning process that first identifies goals and then determines the steps for realizing them. Using the method, the SAA harnessed both external input from its partners (population accountability) as well as internal evaluation of its programming (performance accountability).


Strategic Plan Dashboard

This dashboard is the SAA’s mechanism for tracking the progress of implementing its 2017-2021 strategic plan. It indicates which goals are on track and which staff members are responsible for realizing them. The SAA updates the dashboard quarterly. State statute requires all state agencies to develop and apply performance measurements as part of the state budgeting process.

Performance Measurements Provided to Budget Offices, Legislatures and Other State Entities

The following documents are examples of performance measurement reports SAAs provide to other state entities, such as parent agencies, budget offices and state legislatures. While SAAs prepare these evaluations for use in other parts of state government, many of them use the metrics to guide their work and to help implement their strategic plan.


Alabama Department of Finance FY2018 3rd Quarter Performance Report

Each state agency is required by Alabama state code to submit quarterly performance reports to the Executive Budget Office of the Department of Finance. The SAA uses the reporting mechanism as a tool for documenting its progress toward realizing its strategic plan. Each performance metric in the report is aligned with one of the goals of the SAA’s 2013 strategic plan.


Performance Indicators for Office of Cultural Development (SAA parent agency)

This is an example of performance metrics being set by the SAA’s parent agency. In this case, the Office of Cultural Development establishes the metrics for the Division of the Arts as well as for its other constituent divisions. The SAA’s metrics are aligned with the goals and objectives of its parent agency’s 2018-2022 strategic plan (see pp. 26-37), which also lists performance measures.


2017 Annual Report

In compliance with state law, the SAA develops this annual performance measurement report for the Office of Performance Management and Oversight of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.


The SAA’s 2019-2023 strategic plan enumerates performance measures for its objectives (see pp. 13-14) as well as explanations about the measures’ purpose, data source, calculation method and limitation (see pp. 15-22). The SAA also lists the performance measures in its biennium legislative appropriations request and its annual operating budget that it files with the governor’s Office of Budget, Planning and Policy and the Texas Legislative Budget Board. In addition, the biennium state appropriations legislation (see PDF p. 18) includes performance measures for all state agencies, including the SAA.


Agency Activity Inventory 2017-2019 and 2017-19 Biennium Budget Decision Package

The SAA files this performance measurement report with the Washington Office of Financial Management. The report summarizes, relative to the SAA’s budget, major efforts and their expected results. It also associates each of the evaluated activities with a statewide “result area” and a statewide strategy. The SAA includes performance measurements in its biennium budget request, which, in Washington, is known as a “decision package.” State statute requires all state agencies to develop and apply performance measurements as part of the state budgeting process.