Highlights States’ Efforts to Use Evidence and Data to Improve Results
and Advance Economic Mobility for Their Residents
WASHINGTON, DC – During an event co-hosted by the National Governors Association today, Results for America released the 2019 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence, which highlights how a growing number of state governments from across the political spectrum are using evidence and data to improve results for their residents.
The 2019 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence (State Standard of Excellence) showcases leading and promising data-driven, evidence-based practices, policies, programs, and systems used by state governments to invest taxpayer dollars in what works. These effective and efficient initiatives provide a roadmap for how every state can use evidence of what works when making budget, policy, and management decisions.
“Across the country, a growing number of state governments are using evidence and data to get better results for their residents” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America. “The State Standard of Excellence showcases how governors and state agency leaders are increasingly investing in what works to increase economic mobility and improve outcomes for children, families and communities.”
Results for America identified 125 leading and promising practices, policies, programs, and systems for using evidence and data that were in effect as of June 2019 in 33 state governments.
Results for America has identified five states that are leading the way with their building and use of evidence and data: Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. These states have made significant strides towards creating a statewide ecosystem for using what works to achieve better outcomes.
This year, Results for America is also recognizing three Rising Star States that have significantly increased their data-driven and evidence-based efforts since the 2018 State Standard of Excellence: Maryland (from three promising examples in 2018 to six in 2019), Nevada (new leading example of using evidence in nine education grant programs), and North Carolina (from one promising example in 2018 to four in 2019).
“In Colorado we want to ensure we’re delivering the best services we can for our constituents as efficiently as possible,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “Prioritizing the use of data, evidence-based practices, and transparency is just good government. Colorado is number one in the country when it comes to holding ourselves accountable to strategic goals and tying our budget to data and evidence. We’re proud to be recognized as a leader in this area and will continue to effectively serve the people of our great state.”
“In Minnesota, we are committed to being good stewards of taxpayer money by following the data and investing in what works,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. “I’m grateful to Results for America’s Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence for highlighting how we can make government more effective and lifting up Minnesota as a leader in data-driven governance.”
“In Oregon, we develop policy based on objective research and data to make sure that state government is better serving Oregonians,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “The use of evidence-based policy gives lawmakers the opportunity to put their differences aside and work towards common goals for everyone across the state.”
“In Utah, we understand how to sift through data to find key pieces of information that can make the biggest impact. Doing so has helped the state achieve a 27% improvement in performance,” said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. “We appreciate Results for America for highlighting states that are working hard to become more effective and efficient stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
“Improving the effectiveness of government and delivering better results for all Washingtonians is a top priority for me,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “That’s why I established Results Washington to build on our state’s long history of using data and evidence to improve outcomes. Results for America’s Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence is an important tool to highlight our progress in making government more efficient and effective.”
“America’s governors are committed to making a positive difference in the states and territories they serve,” said Bill McBride, Executive Director of the National Governors Association. “We are proud to work with Results for America to help governors and other leaders make the best use of evidence and data to inform policymaking.”
“I encourage states to use the State Standard of Excellence as a resource to learn how their peers in other states are advancing data-driven and evidence-based approaches to inform decision-making,” said John Hicks, Executive Director of the National Association of State Budget Officers and Co-Chair of the Results for America State Standard of Excellence Advisory Committee.
“Maryland is proud to be recognized as a Rising Star State in Results for America’s 2019 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Chair of the National Governors Association. “We know that using evidence-based practices allow us to make smarter decisions, get better results, and save money for hardworking taxpayers.”
“In North Carolina, we know that investing in programs that work allows us to get better results for people at a lower cost,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “Results for America’s Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence is an important tool to highlight our progress in making government more data-driven and accountable to the people we serve.”
“I was very pleased that the Nevada Department of Education made efforts to incorporate evidence-based programs in our grants and guide our school districts to spend their funding on interventions with proven outcomes,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “We are starting to see the results of this work in improved test scores.”
Results for America identified substantial growth in the building and use of evidence and data in education and workforce agencies, with an increase in the number of examples in the State Standard of Excellence by 300% and 400%, respectively, since 2018.
The purpose of the State Standard of Excellence is to educate state government officials, leaders in public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and members of the general public on how state governments can use – and are using – evidence and data to invest taxpayer dollars more effectively and efficiently in what works.
“The State Standard of Excellence is designed to provide governors with a road map for how to use evidence and data to improve results,” said Jed Herrmann, Vice President for State and Federal Policy Implementation at Results for America. “The large growth in the number of examples between the 2018 and 2019 demonstrates that state governments across the country are using the State Standard of Excellence for its intended purpose.”
Results for America would like to thank the more than 150 current and former state officials who contributed their expertise; members of State Standard of Excellence Advisory Committee for their advice in developing and promoting the 2019 State Standard of Excellence; and the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative¹ for research assistance.
Results for America has previously developed standards of excellence for the following levels of government:
Federal Government: Results for America’s 2018 Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence highlights the extent to which nine federal agencies have built the infrastructure necessary to be able to use data and evidence when making budget, policy, and management decisions; these agencies oversaw more than $220 billion in federal investments in FY2018.
Local Government: Results for America leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities Certification, which assesses how well cities are managed by detailing the extent to which city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making. At the city level, over 150 mayors — Democrats and Republicans — have participated in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative with 14 cities receiving a 2019 What Works Certification for their data-based decision-making.
About Results for America:
Results for America is helping decision-makers at all levels of government harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Our mission is to make investing in what works the “new normal,” so that when policymakers make decisions, they start by seeking the best evidence and data available, then use what they find to get better results.
¹The views expressed in the 2019 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence are those of Results for America and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pew Charitable Trusts or the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.