Projects

Scaling Evidence-Based Models

2016 – 2021

Project Overview

Objective

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS or AmeriCorps) funded Mathematica to conduct the Scaling Evidence-Based Models (SEBM) project to gain insights about which of the interventions funded by CNCS showed evidence of effectiveness and might be ready to scale.

Project Motivation

Through programs such as AmeriCorps, CNCS seeks to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. The SEBM project helped to further CNCS’s mission by generating practical knowledge about successfully scaling effective interventions. 

Prepared For

Corporation for National and Community Service

Successfully scaling effective interventions can help organizations improve lives for larger numbers of individuals and communities than they could have reached before scaling. 
Through programs such as AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, CNCS seeks to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. In 2016, CNCS funded Mathematica to undertake the Scaling Evidence-Based Models (SEBM) project to gain insights about which of the interventions that CNCS funded showed evidence of effectiveness and might be ready to scale. The SEBM project helped to further the agency’s mission by generating practical knowledge about how CNCS could foster the successful scaling of effective interventions and grounding and deepening its understanding of scaling practices.   

As part of the SEBM project, Mathematica designed and implemented the Scaling Programs with Research Evidence and Effectiveness (SPREE) process, which provides a comprehensive methodology for CNCS and other funders to use when they want to help organizations scale effective interventions. Mathematica applied the SPREE process to the AmeriCorps 2015–2019 and Social Innovation Fund 2010–2014 interventions funded by CNCS. Using a two-part annual review of CNCS-funded interventions, the project identified interventions with the strongest evidence of effectiveness and provided CNCS with an understanding of why other interventions did not meet criteria for rigorous research. The SEBM project also conducted an in-depth process study that collected rich information from three CNCS-funded grantees and their partners about their experiences in scaling evidence-based interventions. 

In addition, Mathematica developed a series of guides for practitioners to help them build evidence of effectiveness for their interventions and enhance their readiness to scale them. One such guide introduces the Scaling Checklist: Assessing your Level of Evidence and Readiness (SCALER) framework and tool. The SCALER consists of a series of checklists that organizations can complete to help them identify the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps of the interventions they hope to scale, as well as identify potential ways to strengthen their interventions as needed. Organizations can use the SCALER to increase their likelihood of successfully scaling an intervention that increases the desired outcomes of participants.  

Related Staff

Scott Richman

Scott Richman

Senior Researcher

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Mary Anne Anderson

Mary Anne Anderson

Researcher

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Karen Needels

Karen Needels

Senior Researcher

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Rebekah  Selekman

Rebekah Selekman

Researcher

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Andrei Streke

Andrei Streke

Researcher

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Katie Eddins

Katie Eddins

Research Analyst

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