Target Setting Guide: Additional Guidance on Target Setting Methods

The following information provides additional detail and/or examples of some of the approaches to target setting discussed in the general guidance section.

Percent or Percentage Point Improvement

Percent or percentage point improvement are common methods for setting targets. There are several different ways to determine and apply these changes over time to target setting methods.

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Start with the End Goal

One approach to setting the end goal is to determine a meaningful/statistically different value from baseline or current data. The Child Outcomes Year-to-Year Meaningful Differences Calculator for States can be used for the C3/B7 indicators on child outcomes. The meaningful difference calculator uses an accepted formula to determine whether the difference between two percentages is statistically significant (or meaningful). Statistical tests of significance can be used to determine meaningful differences for other indicators. Once the end goal is set, determine the incremental targets for the intervening years.

Trend Analysis and Forecasting

A trendline, also referred to as a line of best fit, is a straight or curved line in a chart that shows the general pattern or overall direction of the data. A trendline is most often used to show data movements over time, particularly to provide a basis for estimating data in future years. An important consideration in trend analysis is how far back to go, that is, when to start the trendline.

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Statistical Modeling/Analysis

Statistical analysis can be used to help predict future results—targets—using additional data such as population data, regional data, or outliers. For example, a state could stratify its data by the size of the local program/district and weight those data accordingly, or it could look at the change in the results of local programs/districts that have implemented improvement initiatives versus those that have not, and set targets based on scale-up plans.