Nuru Leadership Program: How Do You Measure Leadership?
This is a question we have often contemplated in Leadership, and while it seems on the surface to be inherently complicated, we are slowly beginning to make sense of it. In a previous blog post I mentioned that one way of measuring our program will be through the Staff Leadership Review. In addition to this, another form of measurement that we continue to use is that of assessments. In the past, participants have generally taken an assessment after each of our trainings. The result of these assessments helps us determine how much participants are learning and if our trainings are having an impact. There were a few hitches in this plan: first, some employees at Nuru struggle with reading and writing and so their test scores were consistently low due to this and not because of miscomprehension; and second, in the past we had no way of knowing how much knowledge participants already possessed before attending our classes, making it unclear as to how much they actually learned in the trainings.
As we embark on teaching Basic Nuru Leadership Training (BNLT), we have instituted a pre and post test. The idea behind this is that participants will take the same assessment at the beginning of class, before they have actually learned anything about the topic, and then again at the end of class after our team has taught all of our lessons. These two sets of scores will help us to understand how much knowledge each person came in with and exactly how much each participant learned in our trainings. They will be able to show us an immediate impact about how our classes directly contribute to an increase in knowledge in each participant. This is important data for us to have for a variety of reasons. It can help us improve our teaching methods, evaluate our curriculum, and see where there may be gaps in our teaching. More importantly, it can also help us to prove that our trainings have had a direct impact on Nuru staff, which in turn should have a direct impact on their work performance.
We are also at the beginning stages of instituting oral assessments for select participants. In our classes there are some individuals that struggle with reading and writing and this can often make sitting down to take our written assessments a very stressful and difficult experience. As a place to start with instituting oral assessments, we have identified one individual known to struggle with literacy. Instead of taking a written assessment, that he most likely would not be able to complete, we took a different approach and decided to ask him the assessment questions orally instead. Due to the opportunity to take oral assessments, on both our Feedback and Focus Project One (FP1) trainings, he scored upwards of 70%, well above our standard 60% pass mark. This is revolutionary for our program. It is entirely possible that our impact is much larger than we are actually able to show right now, simply due to the fact that in the past our assessments had all been written instead of oral. It is incredibly exciting to know that with this one shift, it is possible for individuals to gain confidence as they perform better, and also for our program to gain accurate data of our impact.
We are continually reflecting on the idea of measuring Leadership and often work closely in conjunction with Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in order to hone our methods and brainstorm new ones as well. As the program grows, our methods of measurement will also undoubtedly grow and improve. In the meantime we have the Staff Leadership Review, pre and post assessments, and also portions of performance reviews in which to gather data about our program. The picture of Leadership’s impact is slowly coming to realization and it is shaping up to be very positive.