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 Paul Pietsch.
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 FY2011-2015 strategic plan document. It describes the objectives, strategies and metrics the SAA will use to evaluate its progress toward realizing the strategic plan’s goals.
Arizona Commission on the Arts
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 serves the FY2011-2016 Strategic Plan.
Montana Arts Council
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
While the SAA’s 2013-2015 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 sets its annual agenda through Council-approved “top ten” lists of projects (with staff assignments) and through related performance metrics, which the Council uses as the basis for its year-end evaluations.
New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
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
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
This evaluation logic model answers three questions for each objective of the 2013-2017 Strategic Plan: Why is it important? What are its performance metrics? How are these metrics to be employed? It also sets benchmark outcomes to be achieved within two years, between two and five years, and beyond five years. The logic model is an appendix to the strategic plan, and it is the product of the SAA’s effort to weigh all of its operational and programmatic decisions against its strategic goals.
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.
Each state agency is required by Alabama code to submit quarterly performance reports to 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 SAA 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 2015-2019 strategic plan, which also lists performance measures.
Performance measurement report FY2013 (see pp. 6-10)
The SAA developed this performance measurement report in compliance with a 2010 Massachusetts law, which created the Office of Performance Management & Oversight and directed it to set performance metrics for state agencies. The SAA annually reports on its performance to this overseeing agency. According to SAA staff, its annual report is keyed to a statewide economic development initiative, though its individual performance measures are aligned with the goals of the SAA’s 2013-2018 strategic plan.
The SAA evaluates its progress on reaching strategic goals with two performance measurement reports. Both are based on the SAA’s 2011-2013 strategic plan. The work plan is an internal document used to track progress, and its spreadsheet is updated as staff complete tasks. The accomplishments report is a narrative document whose primary audience is the state legislature and other state officials. Nonetheless, SAA staff use it as a tool for organizing and describing their work.
The SAA annually files this report to the Oklahoma House Common Education Subcommittee as part of the subcommittee’s performance review process. The report consists of the SAA’s answers to a series of questions posed by the subcommittee. The lawmakers inquire about the SAA’s objectives and evaluation metrics as well as about its budget, programs and staffing.
These reports lay out the SAA’s performance measures, describing each metric’s purpose, data source and limitation, and evaluation methodology. Both documents are related to the SAA’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan. The SAA works with the Texas Legislative Budget Board to develop its metrics. All state agencies in Texas have their performance measures included alongside their budget allocation in the biennium state appropriations legislation (find Commission on the Arts on PDF page 13).
The SAA files two different performance measurement reports with the Washington Office of Financial Management. The activity inventory summarizes, relative to the SAA’s budget, major efforts and their expected results. The performance progress report, which is required by state statute, is similar but is produced more frequently. Both documents associate each of the evaluated activities with a statewide “result area” and a statewide strategy.