Common measure: Institutions with increased educational capacity

A broad range of partners, from universities to professional associations, amplify NOAA’s message to their communities and networks. Informal learning institutions—like aquariums, zoos, and museums—spread the word about our science to their visitors. By working with partners, we can significantly extend our reach. Through NOAA’s support, these partner institutions increase their capacity to host education programs and exhibits. This common measure reflects the number of such institutions experiencing an increase in educational capacity.

Common measure

Output: Number of institutions with increased educational capacity through NOAA-supported education programs or hosting exhibits.


Institutions with increased educational capacity: Organizations, distinct from NOAA, that deliver NOAA-supported education programs or exhibits that extend NOAA's reach and capabilities. Support includes funding, facilities, equipment, expertise, and staff time.

  • Staff time includes the following types of activities: convening, coordinating, co-developing, presenting or co-presenting by NOAA staff. Partnerships based only on staff time or in-kind donations made by NOAA are not included.
  • Non-examples include: 1) A school that brings its students on a field trip provided by a partner institution is not included in this measure; 2) scholarships and fellowships awarded to individual postsecondary students, the institutions attended by NOAA-supported postsecondary students are not counted under this measure. Financial investments to individuals (as opposed to institutions) should not be included.

Funding: A financial investment made in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, sub-awards to the institution within the reporting year. Grants reported under this measure are not limited to institutions receiving new funding in the given fiscal year, but also include any institution whose grant is active (i.e., includes any institution that is actively utilizing grant monies received either in the current reporting year or in previous fiscal years).

  • Non-example: Institutions that are hired through a contract to deliver a product or service to NOAA are not included in this measure, 2) Institutions that receive sub-awards to deliver a product or service directly to a grantee. Target audiences: Educators, P-12 students, lifelong learners, postsecondary students, and informal visitors.

Programs: Professional development, formal education, informal education, higher education programs.

Exhibits: An organized arrangement of text, graphics, and/or objects that communicate a message or theme that must involve some NOAA science, NOAA data, or NOAA asset. Outside exhibits are often called waysides, which include interpretive signs, kiosks, or other presentation methods developed for use in the outdoors.

Centers: A visitor, interpretive, or educational center where opportunities are provided for people to forge emotional and intellectual connections between their interests and the meanings that arise from learning about the resource. Visitor centers are facilities, open to the public, that provides information about the area’s natural and cultural resources. It may contain exhibits, visitor facilities, and interpretive information.

Data collection and reporting

Administrative Records: Each Education Council administrative unit and sub-unit is responsible for maintaining administrative records that document the number of institutions with increased educational capacity.

  • B-WET exception: National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) and Sea Grant can be grantees of other NOAA grant programs, including the Bay-Watershed Education and Training (BWET) Program and the Environmental Literacy Program. As a result, we acknowledge that there will likely be some double-counting of data reported.

Unified Data Call: An annual collection of output measures, disaggregations, and outyear estimates data from each Education Council member seat. Data collected in the Unified Data Call is used for both internal NOAA reporting purposes, which includes the Annual Operating Plan (AOP), and for external reporting purposes, including NOAA Education Annual Accomplishments Report and Congressional briefings.


  • FY2010: This output measure was first reported.
  • FY2011: The following measure was reported as: Number of institutions that have a NOAA-funded informal learning exhibit or program that integrates NOAA sciences, data, and other information.
  • FY2012-2013: The following measure was approved by the Education Council on August 31, 2012 and reported as: Number of institutions with increased educational capacity through NOAA-funded interpretive/educational centers, exhibits or programs that enhance understanding and use of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, weather, and climate information to promote stewardship and to increase informed decision making.
  • FY2014: The measure was modified on March 24, 2014 to align with annual accomplishments for FY13. Number of institutions that increase educational capacity through NOAA-funded interpretive/educational centers, exhibits or programs.
  • FY2017: The definitions were revised for clarity and publication on the NOAA Education website.