An indicator is a clue, sign or data point that can be used to show if and how sessions or a broader program lessons are supporting the desired goals, outcomes and outputs (Coalter, 2008). Indeed, one of the most crucial steps in M&E is selecting appropriate indicators.
Referring to the Theory of Change above, indicators can specifically assess if the desired outputs, outcomes and impact are being achieved. However, given the more complex and long-term nature of goals, it may be difficult or impractical to measure them in a physical education or coaching setting.
Indicators are a unit of measure, be it quantitative or qualitative, that allow to assess whether an intervention was successful or not. The number of indicators should be limited and ultimately represent a simple, reliable way to measure – and reflect on – processes, achievements, results, and goals. Good indicators should follow SMART principles, namely that they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.