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Evidence for Results

Evidence to Achieve Quality Results, Reliably, at Scale

friends of evidence background paper

Research and experience over the last two decades have produced more knowledge than ever before about what it takes to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children and families. Despite that, we have not been successful in achieving significantly better outcomes at a magnitude that matches the need in critical areas.

CSSP, and the Friends of Evidence group it has convened, share the conviction that to achieve better results we must expand what constitutes acceptable, rigorous, credible evidence, especially in a time of scarce resources. Programs and practices that are proven through experimental methods are a useful starting point, but now the challenge is to build on progress to date, to marshal the full extent of available knowledge and to continuously learn from the most complex and most ambitious efforts underway. Drawing on all these sources, we will be able to create a full spectrum of evidence as the foundation for further innovation to address our toughest social problems.



Better Evidence for Decision-Makers 

As decision-makers work to remedy urgent social, economic, health and education problems, they ought to be informed by all the evidence relevant to achieving their goals. This simple proposition, now widely agreed upon, represents an important step forward in social policy. A focus on evidence helps to fulfill the promise that program choices, treatments, interventions and funding decisions can be based on solid findings about effectiveness, rather than good intentions, rhetoric, fads, ideology or allegiance to "what we've done" philosophy.

The challenge we face today is to build on what has been done so far to make the overall information available to decision-makers deeper, broader, more nuanced, more inclusive of the strategies most likely to produce results at scale, more likely to support continuous learning and improvement and more relevant to everyone working to bridge the gaps between science, practice and policy. 

To learn more, read our paper Better Evidence for Decision-Makers.  

About Friends of Evidence 

 

 Background Paper

The Friends of Evidence came together quite informally in 2011. Early deliberations made clear that there was a shared interest in improving outcomes for the children and families who were not faring well in today’s society. The group also shared concerns about the role of evidence in efforts (public and philanthropic, local, regional and national) to improve outcomes and to ensure the wise allocation of scarce resources.

The group soon found that a growing number of distinguished leaders - across diverse fields, disciplines and sectors - were drawing similar conclusions about the limitations of prevailing approaches to obtaining evidence and were seeking each other out to define and promote more effective approaches. 

The Friends of Evidence were, and are, eager to explore these issues together and to seek support and to work with others toward the critical insights and actions that will lead to the generation analysis and application of evidence that will enhance our societal capacity to - as Anthony Bryk, one of the Friends of Evidence, puts it - achieve quality results, reliably, at scale.





Members:

  

Susan Bales
President
FrameWorks Institute
 

John Kania
Managing Director
FSG
Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP
President Emeritus and Senior Fellow
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Nat Kendall-Taylor
Research Director
FrameWorks Institute
 

Angela Glover Blackwell

Founder and President
PolicyLink
 

Patti Patrizi

Patrizi and Associates
Anthony Bryk
President
Carnegie Foundation
for the Advancement of Teaching
 
Charles Payne
Professor, School of Social Service Administration 
University of Chicago
 
Deborah Daro
Senior Research Fellow
Chapin Hall, University of Chicago
 
Karen Pittman
President and CEO
The Forum for Youth Investment
Kathleen P. Enright
Founding President and CEO
Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
 
Donald J. Peurach, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Education
University of Michigan
 
Frank Farrow
Director
Center for the Study of Social Policy
 
Alice Rivlin
Former Director
Office of Management and Budget
Brookings Institution
 
Thaddeus Ferber
Vice President for Policy
The Forum for Youth Investment
 
Lisbeth B. Schorr
Senior Fellow
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Lawrence Green, DPH
Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology and BioStatistics
UCSF School of Medicine
 
Joshua Sparrow, MD
Director of Strategy, Planning and Program Development
Brazelton Touchpoints Center
Boston Children's Hospital
Michele Jolin
Founder and Managing Partner
Results for America
 





 

2014 Symposium on the Future of Evidence

The first stage of the work of the Friends of Evidence culminated in November 2014, with a Symposium on the Future of Evidence, to explore how a broader approach to evidence could make reform efforts in health, education, social services and community change more effective, as well as more accountable. The participant deliberations during the event illuminated the growing complexity of social problems and their solutions, and the new approaches to generating, analyzing and applying evidence now in use to improve critical societal outcomes and to assure the wise allocation of scarce resources.The symposium was generously supported by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Frank Farrow Harold Richman Symposium Alice Rivlin Keynote - The Future of Evidence Symposium Anthony Bryk - The Future of Evidence Symposium Generating Evidence in Systems and Communities Panel - The Future of Evidence Symposium Hilary Pennington - The Future of Evidence Symposium
Introduction to the Future of Evidence Symposium by Frank Farrow
Alice Rivlin Keynote - The Future of Evidence Symposium
Anthony Bryk - The Future of Evidence Symposium
Generating Evidence in Systems and Communities Panel - The Future of Evidence Symposium
Hilary Pennington - The Future of Evidence Symposium
What is Required to Support a Full Spectrum of Evidence Panel - The Future of Evidence Symposium Shaping Consensus, Encouraging Debate,  Implications for the Future Panel - The Future of Evidence Symposium Patrick McCarthy - The Future of Evidence Symposium Lee Schorr - The Future of Evidence Symposium  
What is Required to Support a Full Spectrum of Evidence Panel - The Future of Evidence Symposium
Shaping Consensus, Encouraging Debate, Implications for the Future Panel - The Future of Evidence Symposium
Patrick McCarthy - The Future of Evidence Symposium
Lee Schorr - The Future of Evidence Symposium
 

Approaches to Evidence

Elements of a Powerful Approach to Evidence

  1. Many sources of evidence inform intervention design
  2. Results shape implementation
  3. Goal-oriented networks accelerate knowledge development and dissemination
  4. Multiple evaluation methods fit diverse purposes
  5. A strong infrastructure supports continuous learning for improvement over time


Examples From the Field



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