||The U.S. Department of Education has taken a major step to institutionalize
evidence-based grantmaking, using an approach we have strongly encouraged in
our work with federal officials: making rigorous evidence a selection factor in
awarding grants. Specifically, the Department's proposed amendments to its grant making regulations (link) give Department program offices two new standard provisions they can
use as selection criteria: one provision incentivizing grant applicants to include an
evaluation that meets rigorous What Works Clearinghouse standards (which prioritize
well-conducted randomized controlled trials); the other incentivizing grant applicants to implement program models/strategies backed by evidence that meets Clearinghouse standards.
We partnered with Results for America in a letter to the Department strongly supporting
these proposed amendments. Our letter also offers a suggested revision which, although in the nature of refinement, may be critical to the effort's success: that its definition of "strong evidence of effectiveness" incorporate a requirement for effects that are "substantial and important" and not just statistically significant. (The letter is linked here.) We'll keep you posted as this effort goes forward.