Prioritize Evidence

Why it Matters

Prioritizing evidence helps ensure that a greater proportion of government grant dollars are invested in programs that are most likely to improve education outcomes.

There are two broad approaches to Prioritizing Evidence in State Grant Programs:

  1. Require that funding be used to support evidence-based programs (Evidence-Requirement).

  2. Allocate points to grant applications that meet the government’s evidence definitions (Evidence Preference/Bonus Points).

Evidence Requirement

State education agencies (SEAs) can require that all or some proportion of grant funds be invested in programs that are evidence-based. To carry out this approach, the SEA can:

  • Require grantees to implement programs determined to be evidence-based by existing evidence reviews (e.g., Results for America’s Economic Mobility Catalog, Institute for Education Sciences’ What Works Clearinghouse).

  • Conduct a systematic evidence review to determine which programs are evidence-based.

  • Require grantees to document the evidence for a program that meets established criteria.

Evidence Preference/Bonus Points

A growing number of local, state and federal government competitive government grant programs are awarding additional points to applications that include evidence for their proposed programs. SEAs can do this by having dedicated base points (i.e., 10 of the 100 points are awarded based on evidence) or bonus points (i.e., up to 15 additional points are awarded based on evidence).

When designing your prioritization strategy, you’ll want to consider the:

Prioritizing Evidence-Building

SEAs can use these same two broad approaches to prioritize evidence-building within their grant programs. For example, an SEA might consider allocating a certain percentage of the grant funding for programs that meet their established definition of “evidence-based.” The SEA may then reserve the remaining funds for programs that do not yet meet their established criteria for “evidence-based”, but which do meet their criteria for evidence-building or agree to undergo an evaluation that meets the criteria for evidence-building if funded.