ISSUE 9  |  FALL 2012
Virginia Performs, a signature initiative of the Council, is a performance leadership and accountability system that links a
high-level vision and key goals for citizens with performance-based planning and assessment across all levels of state government.

Highlights: The Virginia Report 2012  back to top

Thumbnail of 2012 Virginia Report coverThis annual review of progress in the Commonwealth over the past year answers the question, "How is Virginia doing?" by examining the state's performance on both high-level, citizen-oriented indicators and the detailed metrics kept by state agencies on key measures and targets. Each Virginia Report is based on and complements Virginia Performs.

Virginia Performs: An Ongoing Journey

The Virginia Report 2012 highlights important elements of the evolution of Virginia Performs. A best-in-class system that has been emulated in other states and countries, Virginia Performs has not remained static, and important enhancements are taking place at the three main levels of the system's architecture:

  • Citizen/Societal Level: The Council worked with state and regional leaders to better understand the critical drivers of regional economic growth and to begin development of a report card to improve the assessment of Virginia's workforce system. (See Story 3 for more information.)
  • Virginia Performs Architecture, 2011 vs 2012-thumbnail

    Virginia Performs Architecture, 2011-2012.
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    Enterprise Level: The development of Enterprise Strategic Priorities (see graphic at right) is an important step in the ongoing evolution of Virginia Performs. This new assessment tier captures the Governor's key priorities -- those that span agencies and even Secretariats -- and bridges the gap between long-term goals (Citizen/Societal Level) and detailed agency key objectives (Agency Level). Capturing these high-level priorities and related strategies will better enable agency leaders to incorporate the highest priorities of government directly into their planning.
  • Agency Level: Agencies recently began using the strategic planning module of the new Performance Budgeting System, and, as this newsletter goes to press, are finalizing a new Executive Progress Report. (See Story 2 for more information.) 

Key Indicator Changes

The Virginia Report 2012 also points out an important and positive trend: The economic momentum which was documented in our previous report has continued. Although still below pre-recession peaks, both job and income levels continued to improve, and Virginia still ranks among the top 10 states for 5 of 7 major economic indicators.

The Commonwealth's education picture, too, is generally positive (see Story 4 below). In addition, there was positive news across a number of health and family, public safety, and natural resources indicators.

thumbnail of the Scorecard at a GlanceOver the 2011-2012 fiscal year, seven societal indicators have seen shifts in performance significant enough to warrant a trend (arrow) change. Some of the most important are in economy and health.

Trending Upward

From Worsening to Improving: Inflation-adjusted per capita personal income increased slightly in both 2010 and 2011, after two years of decline. While the 2011 statewide average of $45,920 is still below its 2007 peak, continued increases in income levels look likely, assuming there is no return to recession. A similar story is unfolding for the statewide average unemployment rate, which declined to 6.2 percent for 2011 as Virginia continued to add jobs; this trend is expected to continue, barring national or global economic shocks.

From Maintaining to Improving: Per capita energy consumption decreased in Virginia during 2008 and 2009. While the recession certainly played a significant role, a wide range of energy efficiencies -- such as increased mileage standards for new cars -- are also beginning to have an impact.

From Worsening to Maintaining: Three key health and family outcomes are getting back on track. 2010 immunization rates for children, while still below the peak rate seen in 2005, were the best they've been since 2007. Progress on immunization rates for older adults (65 years and older) has been mixed, with pneumonia prevention increasing, but rates for influenza decreasing slightly over the past few years.

The trend for suicide was also changed from worsening to maintaining, primarily because national data shows that the state rate was essentially unchanged for three years. However, internal state data show a slight uptick in the suicide rate and will be monitored closely due to disturbing trends among military veterans. Finally, after an uptick in 2009, smoking rates declined slightly in 2010 and projections indicate further improvement in the future.

Trending Downward

From Improving to Maintaining: Voter registration and turnout outcomes tend to vary with the election cycle, with voter participation increasing during a presidential election year. While voter turnout in Virginia improved markedly in 2008 over 2004, rates for 2010 were slightly lower than in 2006. In addition, voter registration rates, although relatively high, declined slightly in 2009 and 2010.

You may download the complete Virginia Report 2012 here:

Web / low-res (pdf, 15.4 mb) | Print / hi-res (pdf, 44.3 mb)  end of story


Strategic Planning and Performance Budgeting Update  back to top


Performance Budgeting System Nearing Completion

DPB has been developing a new, integrated, online Performance Budgeting (PB) system for the Commonwealth, with various budgeting and planning modules being released over the past two years. Now that implementation is nearing completion. Agencies have been using the new strategic planning module -- the last major module to be released -- to update their strategic plans based on the 2012-14 biennial budget and other actions taken during the 2012 General Assembly Session. This new module further strengthens the links between performance and budgeting.

Agencies Developing New and Improved Executive Progress Reports

Strategic plans have always included a high-level management discussion of the overall status of the agency. However, agency and other thought leaders expressed concerns about the usefulness of this report as a vehicle for communication.

In response, the Council, together with DPB and other partners, developed a new Executive Progress Report (EPR) to address those concerns -- particularly about the report's length and density. The goal was to create a more concise and accessible document that could clearly communicate what an agency does, its current performance, and the most important opportunities and issues facing the agency. The new format has been available for some time, but for efficiency reasons its introduction was delayed to coincide with the deployment of the final strategic planning module of the new PB system.   end of story

Partnerships Creating New Evaluation Tools   back to top

As mentioned above, the architecture of Virginia Performs has evolved significantly since its inception. It all started with the development of the system's highest level: the long-term goals and societal-level indicators established by the Council on Virginia's Future. Agency level strategic plans, key objectives, and associated performance metrics were then incorporated into Virginia Performs, followed by the development of agency productivity metrics and the reporting of agency performance results.

More recent enhancements include the implementation of a new performance budgeting system, spearheaded by the Department of Planning and Budget (Story 2); and the development of enterprise priorities, led by the Governor's Office, to better delineate those top goals which often involve multiple agencies (Story 1).

A New Workforce Report Card

The most recent example of a collaborative partnership yielding further innovation is Virginia Perform's emerging "Workforce Report Card."

The Challenges

The nexus between workforce quality and economic vitality is well understood by industry leaders, who have been vocal proponents for improving Virginia's workforce system. State leaders have responded with a wide range of improvement initiatives, including strengthening and aligning leadership, increasing the focus on STEM-H education, investing in new education-delivery systems, developing the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, and, in general, instilling a market- and results-oriented focus to performance management.

Draft Workforce Report Card thumbnail

Workforce Report Card
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Unfortunately, gauging workforce quality -- and efforts to improve that quality -- have proven to be a challenge. Established measures of overall workforce quality have mostly been limited to lagging, high-level indicators such as labor productivity and adult educational attainment -- important on one level, but not that informative about actual workforce capabilities.

In addition, measuring the "flow" of young adults from our schools and training programs is only one aspect of a complicated issue; generating more college degrees is critical, but it also matters what fields those degrees are in and how well they line up with what Virginia employers need most. Better information on results and market needs is important if leaders are to improve the alignment, collaboration, and market focus of the entire workforce system.

A New Tool

To help craft that aligned focus, the Council on Virginia's Future has been working with the Governor's Office, the Virginia Workforce Council, and Virginia's Career Pathways Workgroup to produce Virginia's first report card for its workforce system, to be a part of Virginia Performs.  [Click the image above to view a draft version of the report card.]  Although many of the indicators for this first effort rely on measures of educational attainment, it is a step forward in capturing the long-term performance of the Commonwealth's workforce system in a way that transcends specific programs, agencies, and stakeholders. The report card also features metrics to gauge aspects of Virginia's efforts to promote its emerging workforce for manufacturing.

An initial release is planned for December 2012. Look for a more detailed story of the report card's development and potential in our next
newsletter.  end of story

Education Initiatives Getting Results  back to top

Virginia's excellent track record in public education continues. The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) recently announced that the on-time high school graduation rate increased to 88 percent for the class of 2012. This continues an improvement trend since 2008, the first year that DOE began using the new, more accurate measure of student cohort completion. More than 55 percent of these graduates earned an Advanced Studies Diploma, an important benchmark for postsecondary success. In addition, dropout rates fell to 6.5 percent, a new low. During the last five years, the statewide dropout rate has fallen by more than 25 percent.

High school studentsThe other good news is that graduation and dropout rates for Hispanic and black students have both improved significantly: since 2008, the on-time graduation rate for black students has risen 8.8 points and the rate for Hispanic students has risen by 9.4 points.

In other news:

  • DOE recently announced that Virginia's high school students continue to outperform their peers in most states in Advanced Placement tests and the ACT and SAT college-placement exams.
  • Since the 2009-2010 school year, Virginia's public institutions have produced an additional 9,900 associate and bachelor's degrees, and annualized full-time enrollment in Virginia's public institutions of higher education reached 251,830 in the 2011-12 school year, an increase of more than 5.1 percent over the 2009-10 school year.
  • Almost 28 percent of the degree gain above came in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. STEM-related bachelor's degrees awarded increased by 17.4 percent over the 2009-10 school year to reach 7,660 degrees, or about 22 percent of the total in 2011-12, up from just over 20 percent in 2009-10. Associate's degrees awarded in 2011-12 in STEM fields increased by 37.5 percent over 2009-10 levels.   end of story

Virginia's Journey to Transparency  back to top

As outlined in the graphic below, Virginia Performs is one of a number of systems, including Commonwealth DataPoint and the new Performance Budgeting System, that now play major roles in transparency, accountability, and performance.

Thumbnail image of government transparency matrix

Accountability & Transparency Matrix
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The recently developed Virginia Longitudinal Data System is another example of a robust system now emerging that will transform the ability of leaders, researchers, and citizens to access and understand the performance of Virginia's education and workforce systems. Many agencies are now improving their internal performance management approaches and making performance data like the Department of Transportation's Dashboard publicly accessible. In addition, more regions and localities are embarking on or enhancing their focus on outcome-driven change.

These journeys are the result of growing partnerships between the public and private sectors.  end of story