What constitutes strong evidence of a programme’s effectiveness?

A recent guest post on Education Week’s Sputnik blog looked at the evidence needed to ensure that a particular programme would work. Written by Jon Baron, President of the Coalition for Evidence-based Policy, it considers factors such as the following:

  • Are the effects on final, policy-important outcomes?
  • Are the effects long-lasting enough to be meaningful for educational outcomes?
  • Are the effects sizeable, as opposed to simply being statistically significant?
  • Have the effects been shown to be replicable in a range of real-word settings?

Source: What constitutes strong evidence of program effectiveness (2012), Education Week

A practical guide to low-cost randomised controlled trials

This guide from the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy summarises five well-conducted, low-cost randomised controlled trials (RCTs) carried out in real-world community settings. As the guide states, RCTs are regarded as the strongest method for evaluating programme effectiveness. Evaluations of the Triple P (Positive Parenting Programme) system and New York City’s teacher incentive programme are reviewed. The purpose of the guide is to illustrate the feasibility and value of low-cost RCTs for policy makers and researchers.

Source: Rigorous program evaluations on a budget: How low-cost randomized controlled trials are possible in many areas of social policy (2012), Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy