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Using Rapid-Cycle Evaluation to Inform Policy Decision Making

Using Rapid-Cycle Evaluation to Inform Policy Decision Making

Mar 17, 2020
Scott Baumgartner and Katie Eddins

State and local leaders who administer programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) often face challenges associated with improving their services to help lift families out of poverty. This new video, which Mathematica developed for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), depicts how a program improvement approach—known as Rapid-Cycle Evaluation—can provide program leaders with evidence about what works to improve services. With this approach, program administrators can use the data they already collect to generate timely evidence that informs service delivery by addressing the unique circumstances of TANF recipients. Program leaders can use this approach for four key actions:

  1. Identifying a challenge, such as low program participation, and developing an intervention to address this challenge, such as designing an appointment reminder postcard
  2. Deciding how to measure success
  3. Implementing the intervention and monitor take-up
  4. Revising the intervention based on what they’ve learned

Created for Project Improve, this video is part of a nationwide initiative that helps state, tribal, and local TANF agencies embed evaluation and learning into decisions about policy and practice. It demonstrates how testing small, simple, low-cost program interventions could improve services and potentially reach more families. Read more about how Mathematica is partnering with human services agencies to test solutions and improve programs by visiting our web page.

About the Authors

Katie Eddins

Katie Eddins

Research Analyst
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