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UCLA Library Assessment Guide

"Assessment is used to make decisions that guide our future, not to validate decisions of the past."


A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is Specific, Measurable, Acheiveable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. These types of goals will help provide structure and guidance throughout your assessment, ensure good communication among you and any team members, and will better identify what you wish to accomplish. 

Specific: When setting your goals being clear and specific will help focus your efforts. You can use the essential "W"s as a starting point to draft your goals.

WHO - Who is involved?
WHO are my stakeholders?
WHAT - What do I want to accomplish?
WHEN - Establish a time frame to complete your assessment.
WHY - Why is this important?

What are the specific reasons, purpose or benefits of moving forward with the assessment? Being specific will help remind you that your objectives should relate back to the goals of your department/organization. 


Measurable: Your goals should be measurable so that you have tangible evidence you've accomplished what you set out to do. Measurable goals will help you stay on track, reach deadlines and target dates. Data collection is an excellent indicator to track progress, however you do not necessarily need numbers or statistics to know you are working towards your objectives. The main question to ask yourself:

How much?
How many?
To what degree?
How will I know the goal has been accomplished?


Achievable: The goal(s) should be realistic, and possible to achieve. It may help you to break down the steps of your assessment into smaller stages, and establish a timeframe to allow you to carry out those steps. This can help you achieve an overall objective that seemed impossible at the start. Ask yourself:

How can I accomplish this goal?

How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints and factors (i.e. financial, time commitments)?

Do I have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and resources to accomplish the goal?


Results-Focused: Your goals should be aligned with the strategic outcomes of your department/organization, and focus on results. Remember that your goals should be measuring outcomes, not focusing on the activities you used to get there. Questions to ask include:

Can I attain this goal with the available resources within the given time-frame? 

What will I/my organization gain from accomplishing this goal?


Time-Bound: Finally, you should have a target date in mind - with a deadline to work towards you create a practical sense of urgency for yourself. As mentioned previously, it may have to help mini-deadlines for steps along the way in your assessment, in addition to the final target date of completion. Keep in mind to make these deadlines realistic and flexible for yourself. Missing a deadline should not completely derail your assessment - adjust as needed and keep yourself motivated.