Scaling good ideas to help more people is often more complicated than it sounds. Even programs backed by promising evidence can struggle to work as well when they’re offered to more people and across different communities. Social norms, resource limitations, community characteristics, and local leadership can impact the success of program scale-up.
The SCALER Tool, a new interactive learning resource designed in partnership between Mathematica and AmeriCorps, helps ease some of these challenges. The tool provides program administrators, policymakers, and community-based organizations with resources and guidance to assess their readiness to scale their program models and ultimately increase impact within underserved communities. Grantmaking organizations can also use it to guide and support their grantees and prepare them for successful scaling of interventions that work.
SCALER (Scaling Checklists: Assessing Your Level of Evidence and Readiness) helps organizations in two key ways:
- Ensures the intervention to be scaled is likely to produce desired outcomes and is therefore worthy of being scaled
- Identifies whether the effective intervention and the organization are ready to scale
SCALER is a product of a multi-year partnership between Mathematica and AmeriCorps called Scaling Evidence-Based Models (SEBM), designed to support innovation, improvement, and learning to improve lives strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. The SEBM project and Mathematica have helped further AmeriCorps’ mission by generating practical knowledge about successfully scaling effective interventions. A suite of other products and resources is also available from the SEBM project team, including a brief on building organizational capacity and another brief on understanding baseline equivalence.