Aligned with this mission, our organization continues to be an agent of impactful change for evidence and data-based decision-making at the federal, state, and local government levels. In collaboration with government leaders and numerous experts, our organizations has:
- played a role in shaping the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act) through policy recommendations which were incorporated in the Act commission’s original report, as documented in this congressional testimony
- helped translate the Evidence Act and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance into implementation through a variety of resources available on Results for America’s Evidence Act Resource Hub
- guided and benchmarked the Evidence Act’s implementation annually through the Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence
We are proud of our integration into the evidence-based ecosystem and of our partnership with other thought leaders such as the Data Foundation, and state and local governments to help implement evidence-based policy. We are grateful for their continued collaboration and their growing interest in evidence-based policymaking to uplift the needs of children, families, and communities and advance effective and efficient solutions to some of our nation’s most difficult challenges.
Providing Tools and Resources to Build State and Local Capacity
Results for America advances federal policy by developing standards of excellence which highlight the government infrastructure necessary to invest in what works; supporting policymakers through tools, resources, and technical assistance; and mobilizing champions committed to investing in what works. For example, Results for America has created many resources for federal policymakers, including:
- 2022 What Works Guide for Federal Legislation
- A guide on federal policy changes to advance the evidence agenda
- 9 Ways to Make Federal Legislation Evidence-Based
- A list of actions members of Congress can take to advance the evidence agenda
- 2020 Presidential Transition Page, Implementation Guide for the 2020 OMB Transition Team
- Resources for the 2020 Presidential Transition Teams
Shortly after the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was unveiled in March 2021, Results for America provided recommendations to the Treasury Department on how the Federal Government can support and incentivize state and local governments to effectively invest ARP dollars by building their evidence infrastructure, data capacity, and more. Then, in the early summer of 2021, the Treasury Department published “Compliance and Reporting Guidance” for ARP State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) which mirrored Results for America’s recommendations.
Results for America encourages state and local governments to leverage the 5 key provisions in the ARP guidance to advance economic recovery, economic mobility, and racial equity by building the capacity for planning, data collection and analysis, policy development, technology use, and more. This will enable leaders to better track results and build capacity to sustain outcomes over time. We are measuring the progress of state, local tribal governments in leveraging this guidance through the ARP Data and Evidence Dashboard. Results for America has testified before Congress about the power of evidence-based policy to embolden the use of data and evidence at the local level.
Results for America has also developed the Economic Mobility Catalog, which can help users unlock the power of the American Rescue Plan’s $350 billion investment in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds by showcasing programs with track records of success; verifying which programs are eligible for ARP funding; and identifying targeted outcomes for different strategies, such as racial equity, education, and workforce development.
Funding What Works
Our team secured the support of 54 states, organizations, and leaders to join the FY24 Invest in What Works Coalition. The Coalition advances legislative funding and language recommendations to improve the impact of federal investments and directs dollars to federal programs that build and use evidence and are data-driven to advance equitable outcomes for underserved communities. The Coalition recommendations include preserving the higher education evaluation set-aside, $165 million for the Postsecondary Student Success Grants, $40 million for the Workforce Data Quality Initiative, and $764 million for AmeriCorps State and National grants. Recommendations also include language requests directing federal agencies to set-aside funding to evaluate program effectiveness, support the implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Building Policymaking Act, and require evidence of effectiveness in competitive and non-competitive grants.
Improving Impact by Defining and Prioritizing Evidence in Federal Grants
In 2015, the Corporation for National and Community Service made a decision to prioritize evidence of effectiveness in the allocation of its AmeriCorps funds – which was also the first year it was featured in Results for America’s Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence. This change led to increasing national service investments in building and using evidence. In addition, this helped support evidence-based reading interventions for 6,000 additional elementary school students in Minnesota. This policy brief demonstrates that small changes in federal grantmaking can lead to improved results in communities across the country.
Building and Using Evidence to Scale What Works
Between 2010 and 2020, the Education Innovation and Research Program (EIR), formerly known as the i3 Program, shifted more than $1.95 billion toward what works in education. For example, a $50 million scale-up grant in FY10 made it possible for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), a national nonprofit that operates pre-K through 12th grade public charter schools organized around an evidence-based model, to increase the number of students served from 28,000 in 2010 to over 80,000 in 2016. One randomized control trial also found that KIPP middle schools have a 6 percentage point impact on four-year college enrollment. This evidence of impact and success positioned KIPP to successfully win over $218 million between 2010-2018 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools program. This Impact Snapshot tells the story of how the evidence definitions and tiered-evidence funding framework within the federal grant programs described above helped improve student outcomes by shifting increasing amounts of federal taxpayer funds toward evidence-based solutions like KIPP’s.
Leveraging ESSA to Improve Student Outcomes
The Nevada Department of Education seized the opportunity presented by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to prioritize evidence to improve Nevada public schools. Leveraging the opportunity presented by requirements in ESSA, the Nevada Department of Education’s Office of School and Student Supports (NDE OSSS) — which allocates most of Nevada’s federal and state education grants to its school districts and schools (See Appendix 4 of abovelinked document) — catalyzed a statewide evidence-based movement to become the fastest improving state public education system in the nation. At Grass Valley Elementary School in Humboldt County, Nevada, the percentage of third graders reading proficiently doubled in a single year, from 24% in 2017-2018 to 47.6% in 2018-2019. An improvement of this magnitude would shine in any school district in any state, but it is particularly breathtaking in Nevada, which has hovered near the bottom of the nation in student performance, and in Humboldt County School District, where, in 2017-2018, 36% of third graders were reading on grade level 4 and even fewer, 35%, were reading on grade level by the time they exited middle school.
Measuring Success and Recognizing Leaders
Results for America has worked with policymakers at the White House and in federal departments and agencies to help them meet the data and evidence standards in our Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence. With our Invest in What Works Coalition partners, Results for America helped shift more than $19.7 billion in federal dollars towards evidence-based programs that deliver better outcomes for residents.
Results for America has also testified before the Evidence-Based Policy Commission in support of our Invest in What Works coalition’s policy recommendations. Click to read Results for America’s primer and our two coalition letters submitted to the Commission on September 9, 2016 and July 25, 2017. Now that the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking is law, Results for America has published the Evidence Act Resource Hub that is designed to help federal agency leaders and others within the evidence community make the promise of this law a reality.