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Short-term, medium-term, and long-term outcomes

small photo of a plantRemember, outcomes can be observed in the short term, medium term, and long term. Start with an achievable, measurable short-term outcome, then ask “what happens next?” Then “what happens after that?” In this way you show how you assume the program leads to long-term outcomes or goals. Examine the examples below.

examples of outcomes by term length

Plan to evaluate short-term outcomes, but check whether you have the time and money to evaluate any medium- or long-term outcomes. For example, see the Denver Firefighters Museum case teaching fire safety to children with the long-term goal of reducing the number of children as fire victims, but the outcome is medium-term: “children demonstrate knowledge of fire safety” as tested in a teacher-administered survey 4 weeks after their museum visit to see if they can identify the safest way out of their house in case of an emergency.

Click on the Museum or Library icon below to see an example.

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