Performance management systems help states keep their eye on the ball and warn them if they are
heading off-target. But not all such systems are calibrated for full efficiency.

Sarah Dube, a director at the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, writes on the

“Although nearly every state has some type of outcome monitoring system in place, many face
challenges in using them to inform decision-making. State agencies frequently spend significant
resources to collect and report performance data that may not always be useful to decision-makers. At
the same time, policymakers may lack information they need to make important policy and funding
decisions. States also face challenges in coordinating these systems with other performance-related
capacities. For example, many states have staff dedicated to research and evaluation, policy analysis,
and other initiatives aimed at streamlining government processes that could be used together to make
better decisions but are often fragmented.

“This brief highlights key ways states are using performance data to improve programs and services,
inform budget and policy decisions, and ensure accountability. It then identifies four actions to address
challenges and improve performance management systems:

– Identify appropriate objectives, measures, and benchmarks.
– Analyze and report targeted performance information.
– Create opportunities to make better use of performance data.
– Coordinate and combine outcome monitoring with other evidence-based policymaking