Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Government:  U.S. Evaluating Government Programs More than Ever

According to a new report commissioned by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts in the U.K. (because the Brits would like to figure out how to do this, too), the Obama administration is instituting the most sweeping and potentially groundbreaking emphasis on rigorous program evaluation ever conducted by the federal government. It has been trying to identify social programs that work, scientifically evaluate how they work and apply those models in awarding grant money.

The hope is that Uncle Sam — with the help of rigorous social science — will stop supporting teen pregnancy prevention programs that don't actually prevent teen pregnancies, or childhood literacy programs that don't teach all that many children how to read.

The authors cited six initiatives begun under Obama in which they conclude the role of evidence has been unprecedented. The Department of Health and Human Services has commissioned literature reviews on programs targeting teen pregnancies and parental home visitation. Expert panels have reviewed applicants for the Social Innovation and Investing in Innovation funds. Program guidelines for the Community College Challenge Fund and the Workforce Innovation Fund through the departments of Labor and Education have stressed the importance of evidence-based strategies and evaluation.

For more, see U.S. Evaluating Government Programs More than Ever by Emily Badger, September 14, 2011 at Miller-McCune.

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