October 20, 2022 Press Releases

States Recognized for Progress in Building and Using Evidence and Data to Improve Results

Results for America’s 2022 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence Highlights Advances in Evidence-Based Grantmaking, Data Capacity, Evaluation and More

WASHINGTON, DC – During a virtual event co-hosted by the National Governors Association today, Results for America released the 2022 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence, which highlights how states are building and using evidence and data to accelerate economic mobility, advance equity, and deliver better results for their residents.

The 2022 State Standard of Excellence recognizes eight Leading States – Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Utah, and Connecticut and nine Honorable Mention States – Massachusetts, Ohio, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, and Rhode Island – for building and using evidence and data to deliver better results for residents.

This year’s State Standard of Excellence showcases 263 examples of data-driven and evidence-based practices, policies, programs, and systems (an increase of 61 from 2021) in 41 states across the country (an increase of five states from 2021).

“In this year’s State Standard of Excellence, we saw a significant acceleration of efforts by state leaders across the country to build evidence and use it to invest in what works,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America. “States are investing their own funds as well as federal funds to build and strengthen their evidence and data capacity, and investing in evaluations to help ensure they are delivering the best results for their residents.”

“America’s Governors are using data to achieve outcomes that make a measurable difference in the lives of Americans of all backgrounds, no matter where they live,” said Timothy Blute, director of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. “We are proud to support Governors as they use data and evidence to inform policymaking, and to work with Results for America to showcase the gubernatorial leadership shown in the 2022 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence.”

Results for America identified 58 state grant programs (totalling $770 million in 2022) that are improving outcomes by defining and prioritizing evidence of effectiveness in 32 states – an increase of 24 states and 27 grant programs from 2021. This positive momentum at the state level builds on federal grant programs (funded at $33 billion in FY22) which are also increasingly investing taxpayer dollars in what works.

Results for America has identified leading examples of states investing their American Rescue Plan (ARP) investments in evidence- and data-driven ways. Our analysis found many innovative examples of how states are using evidence and data to deliver better results. Here are a few examples:

Investing in What Works:

  • Tennessee allocated $135 million to evidence-based summer learning programs to prevent summer learning loss.
  • Connecticut used American Rescue Plan funds to launch a universal home visiting program, and has created an ARPA Evidence and Evaluation Unit to coordinate the evaluation of its investments.
  • Colorado used its evidence continuum to help direct spending of America Rescue Plan Act funds, including investing in programs like wraparound services for Medicaid recipients and an evidence-based fall prevention program that will serve 400 aging residents.
  • 27 state service commissions are increasingly investing their AmeriCorps funds in what works (defining and prioritizing evidence.)
  • 3 state workforce boards (CO, PA, and TX) defined and prioritized evidence of effectiveness in several of their grant programs.
  • 7 state education agencies (AZ, CA, CO, GA, MN, MO, NV, and OH) emphasized evidence of effectiveness in their federally funded comprehensive school literacy development programs.)

Building Data Capacity & Evidence of What Works:

  • Tennessee allocated $1.5 million for rigorous evaluations of programs identified through the state’s program inventory process, and is connecting agencies with external research partners to conduct evaluations.
  • North Carolina’s Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) launched the NC Project Portal, an innovative tool for launching partnerships to help state agencies address their research needs and deliver better results for residents.
  • Maryland’s Department of Human Services launched MD THINK, a cloud-based platform allowing multiple state agencies to share and manage data, and offering a one-stop shop for residents to access key services.
  • Washington is implementing an executive order on Equity in Public Contracting, using  a statewide electronic data collection and monitoring system to ensure that all cabinet agencies are tracking the participation of certified minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses in state contracting and procurement.

“In Pennsylvania, we are striving for excellence through consistent use of data and evidence to inform our policies and programs,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said. “A key example is our Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, which adopted a four-tiered evidence framework now used to develop and award workforce grants, that will further our goal of equitable career and economic outcomes for all Pennsylvanians.”

“Today’s government employees are expected to work better and on bigger challenges than ever before. In Utah, we use well-informed innovation to create bold solutions to our state’s toughest challenges,” said Utah Governor Spencer Cox. “We’re excited to be a leading state and look forward to continuing to improve the relevance and responsiveness of state government for our residents.”

“It’s an honor to see our state’s efforts recognized,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “Our state government team is continually assessing data and evaluating programs to make sure taxpayers are getting their money’s worth with effective and efficient investments.”

“Connecticut’s state government is increasingly harnessing the power of data to deliver better services and improve the lives of everyone who lives and does business in our state,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “Focusing on data, leaders have improved the way people apply for benefits, focused investments in high-need communities, and demonstrated the success of multiple programs. Our leaders work with agencies and communities to build data capacity and use evidence to continuously improve the impact of services and programs. We are thrilled to be recognized for this work, and to be featured as a leading state in the 2022 State Standard of Excellence.”

“We are proud of our data-driven, evidence-based approach to saving people money, fighting for clean air, making communities safer, and improving access to high-quality education as we continue to build a Colorado for All,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “We continue to put data and evidence at the forefront as we empower Coloradans with the facts to make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and our communities.”

“The Volunteer State is leading the nation with data-driven decisions to secure economic and educational opportunity for every Tennessean,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “I thank the Office of Evidence and Impact for its work to ensure we steward state dollars responsibly and effectively to serve Tennessee well.”

“I am proud that Minnesota is recognized as a leading state for our commitment to data-driven decision making,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. “By using data and evidence thoughtfully and investing in policies that achieve results, we can improve the lives of all Minnesotans.”

“I am proud once again to highlight Washington’s successes and use of data to support our responsiveness and resilience in the face of both obstacles and opportunities,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “We have transformed our approach to problem solving by focusing on and engaging with under-represented communities to better serve all Washingtonians. We prioritized the use of data to implement new policies and best practices to successfully improve access to state services creating a more equitable playing field for our customers. In our state, we continue to place great emphasis on supporting data-driven and evidence-based solutions across the enterprise. We are grateful for the partnership with Results for America and the focus on the importance of using data and evidence to support decision-making.”

To see more innovative state efforts, take a look at the state-by-state results in the 2022 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence.



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