On Equal Footing: The Importance of Baseline Equivalence in Measuring Program Effectiveness

Home Visiting Programs OPRE Report #2014-50
Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Aug 29, 2014
Sarah A. Avellar and Jaime Thomas

To understand the effects of a program, researchers must distinguish effects caused by the program from those caused by other factors. This effort typically involves comparing outcomes for two groups. The similarity of the two groups before initiating program services is referred to as baseline equivalence. This brief explains the role of baseline equivalence when measuring a program’s effectiveness.