I sometimes note how much I’d like to help policy makers learn to discriminate between evidence- and bologna-based educational programs. Apparently, I’m not alone.
The US Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a non-profit promoting excellence in government, is offering a workshop for public-sector administrators on understanding research that should form the basis of public policy. Because I couldn’t find a page about the workshop on the Web site, I’m taking the unusual action of reprinting the Coalition’s announcement of the workshop.
How to Read Research Findings to Distinguish Evidence-Based Programs from Everything Else
Tools for Public Officials and Other Stakeholders to Become Independent Experts,
Offered by Recognized Leaders in Evidence-Based Reform
Washington DC, April 8, 2008
Evidence-based policy reform is an important new development in American government, requiring new skills of public officials, staff, and other stakeholders. Requirements for rigorous evaluation and the use of evidence-based programs now appear in Congressional legislation, Office and Management and Budget (OMB) guidance, and federal agency grant solicitations in many diverse areas of policy. These developments offer the potential to bring rapid, evidence-driven progress to areas such as education, employment and training, crime and justice, early childhood programs, substance abuse prevention, and international development assistance. Key precedents include medicine, where evidence-based policy has produced remarkable advances in human health over the past half-century; and welfare, where rigorous evaluations built actionable knowledge about “what works,” setting the stage for the successful, bipartisan welfare reforms of the 1980s and 90s.
Our workshop teaches the core skill needed to be an effective practitioner of evidence-based policy: The ability to read a study and readily assess whether it produced valid evidence of a program’s effectiveness.
This core skill is needed, for example, to –
- Distinguish the few programs in your policy area that are truly backed by valid evidence from everything else that claims to be, without having to rely on outside “experts” whose biases and capabilities are unknown;
- Sponsor a study that is capable of generating valid evidence about a program’s effectiveness; and
- Explain research results to key colleagues and stakeholders in a clear and persuasive way, so as to enlist them as partners in your efforts.
Acquiring this core skill is straightforward: A one-day workshop on key principles, followed by weekly “brown-bag” conference calls providing hands-on, coached experience in reviewing actual studies.
The workshop will take place on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy from 9:00 to 4:00, with lunch provided. The weekly follow-up sessions will be held over a 12-week period, via 45-minute conference calls at the noon hour. In these sessions, participants will gain hands-on experience reviewing actual studies in a small-group setting facilitated by Coalition staff, with the goal of becoming independent experts. Participants are encouraged to suggest studies to review in these sessions.
Our background: A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, we’ve played a leadership role in advancing evidence-based reforms through our work with top Congressional and federal agency policymakers:
Our work with Congress and OMB helped create a new evidence-based home visitation program at HHS in the FY 08 Appropriations Act (Public Law 110-161).
We helped OMB develop new guidance for the federal agencies on What Constitutes Strong Evidence of a Program’s Effectiveness.
Our work with Congress has yielded important advances in Congressional support for rigorous – preferably randomized – evaluations in education, crime prevention, and other areas.
We’ve conducted previous workshops on evidence-based policy for OMB, the Departments of Education and Labor, the Congressionally-established Academic Competitiveness Council, and others.
We developed and manage one of the leading U.S. websites of evidence-based programs – Social Programs That Work (www.evidencebasedprograms.org).
A recent independent assessment of our work found we’ve been “instrumental in transforming a theoretical advocacy of evidence-based policy among certain [federal] agencies into an operational reality.”
Logistics and Cost
When: Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with lunch provided. 12 follow-up sessions via conference call each Tuesday thereafter, starting at noon.
Where: The April 8th session will be held at the Council for Excellence in Government (1301 K Street, NW, Suite 450 West, Washington DC 20005)
Who: Public officials and staff, policy analysts, program providers, and other stakeholders. A research background is not required.
Cost: $520 for the one-day workshop and 12 follow-up sessions. As a nonprofit organization, we price our workshops as inexpensively as we can to reach the widest possible audience.
Deadlines: The deadline for registration and payment is Tuesday, April 1st. Space is limited, and our previous workshops have filled up quickly.
How to register: Please register via our website at http://www.excelgov.org/userpreview.php?formid=389.
Payment Information: Credit card payments are preferred; we also accept checks (payable to the Council for Excellence in Government) and purchase orders. To process your payment, please contact David Anderson at (email@example.com, 202-530-3284).
Questions?: Please contact David Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-530-3284).
Development of the workshop curriculum is funded through a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation.