Student Reports

Spring 2015

Professors Douglas J. Besharov and Douglas Call


In Spring 2015, students worked with clients at DC Housing, Family League of Baltimore, Montgomery County Office of Human Resources, Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, Maryland Department of Human Resources, District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education, U.S. Government Accountability Office, Administration for Children and Families US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, America Achieves, Agencyfor Healthcare Research and Quality and National Governors Association. Students performed a wide variety of analyses, including cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, policy analysis, performance measure development, process evaluation, and research synthesis.

The following are the final projects prepared by the students. They are listed in order of clients.

Note: The associated files are best viewed using Adobe Reader. To get the software, go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/



Municipal Government

DC Housing

1. DC Housing Authority Policy Proposal: Reengineering Waiting List Preferences in Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programss. DC Housing Authority is a quasi-government agency that supplies affordable public housing and rental assistance to residents of Washington, DC. With a current waiting list of 41,000 people, DC Housing Authority is tasked with the challenge to find the most equitable and fairest method of choosing who on the wait list is given preference. The following policy analysis looks at relevant local need for housing assistance, and utilizes successful aspects of policies in other Moving to Work cities, in order to list recommendations for reengineering of DCHA’s waiting list.

Paper
Family League of Baltimore

2. Baltimore City Community Schools: A Performance Review and Cost Analysis.
Understanding how much money PK-12 schools need is typically referred to in the school finance and education policy communities as adequacy. Adequacy cost studies thereby are designed to help states review current PK-12 education spending, and assess the sufficiency of current funding levels, in order to provide estimates of what funding is still needed beyond what they are already spending. No schools in the Baltimore City area were included in past adequacy cost studies because they did not meet the strict selection criteria established by the Maryland State Board of Education. Their continued exclusion is very concerning to the districts in this area, especially because the MSDE seeks to determine the effect of concentrated poverty on adequate funding levels and what resources public schools still need to help these at-risk students reach state standards. But how can they ascertain this by only studying “top tier” schools?

I worked with the Family League of Baltimore to produce a white paper for the MSDE and other appropriate legislative bodies which argues that excluding BC schools from Maryland adequacy cost studies leads to inaccurate estimations of the cost to educate a child in public school – particularly for those living in concentrated poverty. The paper also asserts that the revolutionary community schools model employed by a large number of schools in the BC area has been remarkably effective at producing positive educational outcomes for at-risk students living in poverty. To support these claims, I completed applicable analyses that answer the following research question: Factoring in the funding needed to provide the necessary additional wraparound to students and families in areas of concentrated poverty, how much does it really cost to adequately and equitably educate a child in public school so they are able to achieve success? The results of the analyses are subsequently utilized to dispute the reasons for past exclusion of BC schools from adequacy cost studies, justify their future inclusion, and promote future research and cost estimation of school intervention models that specifically target the educational attainment of impoverished children.

Paper

3. Breaking the Barriers: the Community Eligibility Provision.
A policy analysis was conducted to verify the barriers to participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and solutions to address the barriers. Prior to the policy analysis the perceived barriers were perceived data loss and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) churn, a phenomena where “recipients leave the SNAP program and then re-enter within fourth months or less." Seven case studies were conducted in order to assess the barriers to participating in CEP. The analysis sampled both non-participating local education agencies (LEAs), Baltimore City, Dorchester County and Kent County, and participating LEAs, Howard County, Somerset County, the SEED School of Maryland, and Washington County. The case studies revealed that perceived data loss was a barrier to participation. However, SNAP churn was not a barrier to participation in CEP.

Paper
County Government

Montgomery County Office of Human Resources

4. Tuition Assistance Program Program Evaluation.
The Montgomery County Tuition Assistance Program provide financial assistance on a first come, first serve basis to active Montgomery County employees and volunteers who are either taking college level courses or training. In May 2010, a program evaluation of the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for Montgomery County was performed through Montgomery County’s CountyStat office. It compared participants of the program to non-participants of the program in terms of retention rate, grade advancement and salary growth. This analysis aims to build on the previous program evaluation by using employee data to compare and analyze retention rate, grade advancement and salary growth of TAP participants versus the retention rate, grade advancement and salary growth of non-participants. Analysis was also done to see difference between employees using year of hire, department and bargaining unit. In addition, this program evaluation interviewed human resource professionals in 7 jurisdictions to see if they offer tuition assistance and to understand how they manage their tuition assistance programs. Findings point to a participants experiencing a higher retention rate, a higher rate of movement within departments and a higher rate of grade advancement. The difference between participants and non-participants in terms of salary growth is minimal. Finally, the primary recommendation for the County for TAP is that a waitlist is implemented to better serve the needs of interested participants and to gather data for budget allocations and properly gauge interest and demand for the program.

Paper

5. An Analysis of Montgomery County Training and Development Programs. The Montgomery County Office of Human Resources (OHR) conducts training and development programs for Montgomery County Government employees. To address department specific needs some County departments also manage internal training and development programs. As a result of the County’s decentralized program structure, OHR is unaware of the aggregate scale of countywide training and development. The lapse leaves the County susceptible to inefficiencies and vulnerable to regulatory and fiscal mismanagement.

To resolve the issue, OHR has a short-term goal of gathering information about each departmental program for the purpose of building an inventory of current course offerings. Its long-term goal is to conduct an evaluation of countywide training and development programs to quantify the program’s aggregate value and determine overall effectiveness. This paper begins to address OHR’s short-term goal by describing ten departmental training and development programs and identifying content related trends. The paper also addresses OHR’s long-term goal by identifying structural trends that may prevent OHR from conducting an evaluation.

Finally, four recommendations are presented to address the content and structural related issues. Recommendations include:

  1. Clarify and/or simplify how training and development related leave is recorded and records are kept.
  2. Add OHR to the approval process for conferences and third party vendors.
  3. Create a standard process for training and development program design.
  4. Restructure departmental programs according to ADDIE model principles.

Paper
State Government

Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention

6. Pretrial System Reform in Maryland: A Policy AnalysisMaryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
In December 2014, the Governor’s Commission to Reform Maryland’s Pretrial System issued fourteen recommendations to improve system efficiency and fairness. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention was tasked with assessing the available options for executing the Commission’s recommendations. This analysis identifies and assesses approaches for implementing two reforms proposed by the Commission to reduce the number of people entering the pretrial system: (1) maximizing the use of the criminal citations process by law enforcement, and (2) implementing earlier and enhanced prosecutorial screening, particularly of citizen complaints. Included are descriptions of the logistical and political feasibility of each option, its likely impact on the size of the pretrial jail population, and recommendations for reform.

Paper

Maryland Department of Human Resources

7. Ready for Team Members to Retire? A Case Study on Succession Planning in the Public Sector: State of Maryland - Family Investment Agency’s Office of Operations. Succession planning, or essentially the process of proactively planning for staff departures rather than reacting to them after they happen, is a management tool that has been used successfully in the private sector since the late 1960’s, but has only more recently become more widespread in the public sector. The Maryland Family Investment Agency’s Office of Operations recently experienced the repercussions of the absence of succession planning when a large wave of retirements occurred and substantial institutional knowledge loss took place. Through interviews with twenty-six current leadership staff with supervisory responsibilities, the researcher examined future retirement trends and areas of potential loss of expertise. While there are no immediately foreseeable waves of retirees in the near future, implementing elements of succession planning now will not only insure against future knowledge loss but also has the potential to motivate current staff and to improve overall processes. Immediate steps that could be taken include integrating career and retirement discussions during the semi-annual performance review processes, increasing the amount of cross-training and peer-learning options, as well as completing the documentation of standard operating procedures.

Paper

District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)

8. Helping DC TAG Students Match to Institutions of Higher Education more Suitable for their Success.
The DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DC TAG), administered by the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), provides residents with grants for undergraduate education. Its purpose is to offset the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees for District of Columbia residents and give them more options for their higher education. Currently students participating in the program have an overall college graduation rate of about 57.8% and a six-year graduation rate of 51%. This graduation rate is slightly lower than the national 6-year graduation rate for full-time students who began at a four-year institution in fall of 2006 of 59%. To address this problem, this report presents options for helping students match to schools better suited for them in order to raise student outcomes and overall program graduation rates. The main recommendation is to develop a guide that students can use to help them research schools that would be good matches for their successs.

Paper
Federal Government

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

9. Debt and Pre-Retirement Leakage from Defined Contribution Plans An Analysis for the Government Accountability Office. Withdrawals taken before retirement, or leakage, from defined contribution plans are an important risk factor in determining retirement preparedness. Debt plays an increasingly important role in all aspects of financial stability and may negatively impact retirement readiness. GAO and other researchers have examined the association between debt and three types of leakage (cash-outs, hardship withdrawals, and loans) through studies that assess the “magnitude” or the aggregate effect of leakage, or describe the “propensity” to leak by modeling economic shocks. Overall, cash-outs at job separation result in the largest aggregate loss to retirement savings. Additional research can be conducted based on multiple sources of administrative and survey data to further understand the relationship between debt and pre-retirement leakage.

Paper

10. A Policy Analysis of Nonstandard and Irregular Schedules. Nonstandard schedules are one of the primary classifications of American jobs, and they have been the subject of research for over a decade. However, a subset of nonstandard work is irregular schedules, and these have been comparatively less studied. This paper seeks to quantify the size and scope of the irregular and nonstandard workforce, describe the potential ill effects that irregular schedule workers may experience, and compile the legislative actions taken by states and localities. This paper contributes to the literature by putting together much of what is known to date about these workers and by identifying gaps yet to be filled by data collection and quantitative research.

Paper

11. A Descriptive Process Analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s K-12 Education Spending. Little existing research investigates the specific methods by which the United States Department of Education allocates funding for K-12 education, or considers the criteria on which such funding allocation decisions are based. Although the broad strategies for disbursing federal grant funding are generally known, little attention has been paid in the literature to the Department of Education’s specific choices with respect to K-12 education. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is particularly interested in learning more about the Department of Education’s allocation methods for K-12 education. Thus, an important and hitherto unanswered question is: how, and on what specific criteria, does the Department of Education allocate funding for K-12 education? The types of criteria that could potentially be employed in such funding allocation decisions are varied and diverse. They could include counting criteria (e.g., the number or percentages of certain student populations or groups), performance criteria (e.g., student achievement or teacher performance), process criteria (i.e., procedural or non-substantive allocation rules), and “time on task,” which can refer to either the amount of time that students spend in classrooms or the broader structure of the school year. (“Time on task” criteria could therefore target measures of hours per day and days per year of instruction as amounts of time, or the structure of the school year (e.g., a traditional ten-month schedule versus a nontraditional year-round schedule)).

This descriptive process study examines the two grant types through which the Department of Education allocates funding for K-12 education and investigates the allocation criteria associated with each grant type. The implications of such an examination are potentially significant, as the Department of Education’s decisions with respect to grant type may reveal preferences for certain types of associated allocation criteria—or for certain programs and Rottman 3 policies. Even a basic analysis of spending on K-12 grant programs by grant type could reveal policy priorities of the Department of Education. This study thus undertakes an introductory investigation of the criteria associated with specific grants and grant types used to fund K-12 education in order to learn more about the allocation process, particularly for the Department of Education’s largest grant programs.

The study is designed to answer three research questions:

  1. What are the methods for allocating Department of Education funding for K-12 education, what purposes are these methods designed to achieve, and how are the different methods reflected in aggregate Department of Education spending on K- 12 education?
  2. To what extent are the identified methods for allocating K-12 funding associated with various criteria, including student counts, performance, process, and “time on task”?
  3. How do the Department of Education’s funding allocation methods compare to the federal allocation systems employed in other countries that are similar to the United States?

Paper

12. Adult Guardianships and Elder Abuse. This report evaluates the relationship between legal adult guardianships and the financial exploitation and abuse of elders. Although as many as 3 million American elders are in legal guardianship arrangements, little is known about how these arrangements may leave elders vulnerable to abuse. The findings of this report highlight existing standards for regulating and overseeing the compensation of professional, fee-for-service guardians, and identify eighteen cases of alleged financial elder abuse by professional guardians. The author offers several conclusions and recommendations, including: (1) the need to standardize data collection on guardianship proceedings; (2) the utility of identifying best practices for the regulation of guardianship compensation; and (3) suggested avenues for future research.

Paper
Administration for Children and Families US Department of Health and Human Services

13. Early Childhood Development and Access to Services: An Exploratory Study of Homeless Families with Young Children. Nine case studies were conducted to examine the challenges of families with young children and how they manage daily life and child development when they experience episodes of lack of housing, specifically, when families temporarily lived doubled-up or in a hotel or motel due to a loss of housing or economic hardship. Homelessness and poverty have been negatively correlated with children’s cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical development. However, most research in the field of homelessness and early childhood development focuses on families who sought the services of a shelter or on children who are already in public education. Little is known about children who qualify as homeless under the Department of Education’s definition, but are not in shelters, transitional housing, or public education. This study provides qualitative data on this population on three domains: transience, home life and child development, and knowledge of and access to early childhood care and education services. The results and lessons learned while conducting these case studies can be used to inform further research.

Paper

14. Health Promotion and Family Engagement Initiatives in Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) started in 2011 as a competitive grant program for states to implement high-quality early learning programs and increase these programs’ infrastructure to improve school readiness. As part of the program, states can choose how they want to address health promotion and family engagement. Children’s health and wellbeing allow them to perform better in school, and caregivers’ awareness of health or development issues early on allow children to receive care if necessary. Additionally, caregivers’ early awareness of the importance of health sets children on lifelong paths of healthy habits and preventative care. Family engagement strengthens parents’ involvement in their children’s education, health, and wellbeing. Family engagement components in early education settings can initiate the process of parental involvement early on in children’s lives in order to create lifelong habits of parental involvement. Several components exist to RTT-ELC, but these two components of health promotion and family engagement serve as the subject of this implementation evaluation.

This implementation evaluation first outlines RTT-ELC as a whole and shows where child health and family engagement fit into the rest of the program. After introducing RTT-ELC, I review the literature which discusses the importance of health promotion and family engagement as part of a child’s early education. Following the literature review, I evaluate states’ implementations of their respective health and family engagement initiatives and determine to what extent these implementations match states’ initial program designs. The purpose of this evaluation is to see if states’ use the RTT-ELC grant funds in the ways they specify and to provide a broader picture of what RTT-ELC states are doing with health and family engagement. ACF is interested in monitoring trends in health promotion and family engagement across grantee states; this broad picture will allow ACF to see how the rollout of RTT-ELC is proceeding and what challenges states face in their implementations. Findings indicate mixed successes in implementations across states, but many states share some common experiences, and I conclude with recommendations based on these findings; these recommendations could stand to benefit both grantee states and ACF.

Paper
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

15. Medicare Advantage Plan and Medigap Plan Cost Analysis + Cost Factor Analysis of Plan Switches. The Medicare-eligible population has a number of Medicare-related insurance products available to them in the insurance, namely Medigap supplemental insurance coverage and Medicare Advantage plans. This report aims to answer to primary questions: (1) is Medigap or Medicare Advantage the least costly option for a newly eligible 65 year old based on healthcare utilization level? (2) at what ages do beneficiaries switch plan types and what cost factors drive this change?. This report attempts to answer both of these questions using MEPS data from 2011 and 2012, Medicare and Medigap plan benefit data available on individual insurance website, and published health economics theory and research. The findings from this study suggest (1) that Medicare Advantage plans are the least costly option for the vast majority of 65 year olds when comparing Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans and (2) that plan switching activity is low after the age of 65 (less than 10%), but those that do choose to switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans seem to be making sound economic/rational decisions.

Paper

16. Cost of Access Issues for Qualified Medicare Beneficiary - An Analysis of Annual Medicare Fee-for-Service Payments in 2010.
Introduction: Research by CMS demonstrates that provider reimbursements being lower than Medicare rates, including the cost-sharing amount, for QMB beneficiaries in states not paying the cost-sharing amount led to a decreased availability and access to routine health care services. As a result, these enrollees use emergency services more frequently compared to QMB enrollees.
Method: To evaluate the data a multiple linear regression method will be used to model the relationship between the cost of annual Medicare payments rates and state payment policies for QMB-only, QMB-plus, and Medicare beneficiaries.
Conclusion: The results of this study did not support our initial hypothesis, rather the results indicated the opposite, that full payment states incurred a higher cost of care, even among Medicare only enrollees.

Paper
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

18. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Executive Operations Office (EOO): Needs Assessment Evaluation for Process Improvement. The purpose of the study is to identify and address the needs or the service gaps between the Executive Operation Office (EOO)’s work conditions and desired customer expectations. The research involved conducting interviews, performing a literature review, developing a customer satisfaction survey, and mapping a process workflow. The findings were utilized to measure customer satisfaction and develop recommendations to improve policy and management practice for application to the EOO administrative and operational services.

Paper
National Center for Education Statistics

19. State Implementation of the Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate. This paper seeks to answer three research questions regarding the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR): How do states define a regular high school diploma for the purposes of calculating ACGR? Do students with disabilities have different diploma requirements? How do states track cohort movements? These questions seek to shed light on the interstate comparability of ACGR. Maryland, Texas, California, New York, Georgia, and Minnesota were selected to answer the research questions. Each research question found state-level differences that could account for inconsistencies with ACGR calculations, but the overall structure of the ACGR represents a major improvement as a graduation metric.

Paper

20. K-12 Public Virtual Schools on the Rise.
The purpose of this report is to get a better understanding of how K-12 public full-time virtual schools are governed, funded by the federal government and held accountable for outcomes under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These research questions are answered through a literature review of the available material on virtual schools and conducting interviews with representatives from virtual schools and state education agencies. From this research it is found that the main types of governance for full-time public virtual schools are statewide, district and charter schools. Additionally, there are currently no federal funding sources specifically for virtual schools available, but most states do allow virtual schools to receive federal funding and some virtual schools have been receiving money through Title I, Title III and IDEA. Lastly, one area of virtual schools that is still going through major transitions are the accountability measures, as states learn how to better measure student success in an online environment.

Paper

21. A Process Evaluation: Defining LEA Membership in Five U.S. States.
This paper was prepared in response to a request by clients at The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and describes the findings of a process evaluation examining Local Education Agency (LEA) student membership definitions in four U.S. States. To begin, an introductory section will review how the policy problem was discovered, and why it is important to study. The second section will then describe the research questions and methodology used in this evluation. The third sections will report the findings of the evaluation by explaining the terms and processes that each of the four states uses to define LEA membership. The fourth section will comparing the sates’ definitions to the criteria outlined in the EDFacts’ file specification, and draw conclusions about the states’ ability to abide by the file specification. Finally, the fifth section will provide recommendations for restructuring the EDFacts’ membership file specification and discuss the benefits and limitations of those recommendations.

Paper
U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)

22. The Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) for Supplemental Security Income Recipients: Evaluation of Potential Performance Measures. This report proposes and evaluates potential performance measures for the Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS). The Plan to Achieve Self Support is a provision in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) legislation that allows disabled SSI recipients to set aside non-SSI funds to be used for purposes related to a career goal. These funds are then excluded from calculations for SSI eligibility and benefit payments. I review the literature on programs which aim to increase employment rates among disabled individuals receiving public benefits and profile programs from Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Based on the performance measures used in evaluations of these programs, as well as recommendations from the literature on best practices in performance measurement and recommendations specific to disability and work activation programs, I present a list of potential performance measures for PASS, and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each against a range of criteria.

Paper
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

23. A Living Wage Policy Study for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This study examines living wage policies in the U.S. by conducting expert interviews and an in-depth literature review of retrospective research conducted by academics and policymakers alike. While it aims to craft a national picture of the economic impacts of living wage laws, its analysis is rooted in the investigation of four main living wage cities: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Boston and San Jose. Its objectives are to understand the outcomes and impacts of these policies on five main components: 1. coverage and targeting, 2. income and employment, 3. poverty and government assistance, 4. contract prices and economic growth, and 5. absenteeism, turnover and productivity. Ultimately, the researcher examines the effectiveness of living wage as a policy tool to lift workers out of poverty. It concludes with an assessment of implementation strategies, as well as recommendations for further research.

Paper
U.S. Department of Education

24. Process Evaluation of Title I Part D Subpart 1 and 2 Formula Grants Administering Juvenile Justice Education Programs. The US Department of Education Title I Part D Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk administer funding to state and local agencies providing juvenile justice education programs in juvenile institutions and adult correctional facilities to facilitate successful re-entry into schools and communities upon release. These funds are divided into Subparts 1 for State Agency programs and Subparts 2 for Local Agency programs. This paper selected Kentucky, Massachusetts, Texas and Utah as four representative states for administration of Subpart 1 funds. Interviews were conducted with state liaisons from each of the four states and performance and outcome data were analyzed through the context provided from the interviews. While there was not one state that provided a configuration that had so few problems its model should be replicated elsewhere, states did show a number of promising advancements. There was, however, consistent concern about the ability to gather outcome data after program exit as well as a discussion of competing needs and services for incarcerated youth. Recommendations include more collaborative efforts between Department of Education and the Department of Justice as well as a more comprehensive, cleaner data reporting system for states.

Paper
Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

25. Performance Narratives for the Regional Educational Laboratories. In 2014, IES began collecting data for the creation of performance narratives to portray the work of the Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) during the 2012-2017 contract cycle. I was asked to help write the narratives and to consider possible new methods for narrative collection. Narratives have been completed at least two other times in REL history, the first time in 1968, three years after the RELs’ authorizing legislation in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 and the second time in 1996, when RELs were organized under the Office of Educational Research and Improvement. This collection of narratives will be the first created under the 2002 Education Sciences Reform Act, which reauthorized the RELs and coordinated them under the newly established Institute of Education Sciences. The narratives will highlight the work RELs have performed towards the responsibilities detailed under the law and current contract cycle. This includes the strong focus on data use, analysis, and capacity building prioritized in this cycle. It also includes the use of research alliances as the main coordinating entity for REL work with practitioners and education stakeholders throughout their regions. The paper begins with a Summary of Recommendations for future narrative collection, production and use. It is then divided into three main sections. The first section describes the purpose and responsibilities of the RELs and discusses the use of performance stories as a means to help express the complex work being done by the laboratories. The second section details the process used to create this current round of narratives and offers suggestions for procedures to collect future narratives. The final section consists of the ten narrative stories, one for each laboratory, created in this project.

Paper
Nongovernmental

America Achieves

26. Evaluating and Creating Performance Measures for the America Achieves State Educator Voice Fellowships in CO, MI, and NY. The America Achieves State Educator Voice Fellowships were implemented in CO, MI, and NY beginning in 2014 to train 50 highly effective educators in each state to advocate for higher school standards on behalf of teachers. For this evaluation project, the program design and core program activities were translated into comprehensive performance measures to build up the program’s data collection and data analysis capabilities. A brief literature review and interviews with the program director and state project managers informed these measures. The final measures address resource, productivity, output, service quality, and outcome considerations. As the program continues, performance data should improve specification of program requirements, delivery of training and ongoing assistance, and assessments of program success.

Paper
Agencyfor Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

27. Tracking Feedback for the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. The 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report was delivered to the U.S. Congress and the public in a new format—a 30-­-page summary complemented with an integrated website. This paper describes a plan to collect user feedback to inform how the transition affects usability (defined as accessibility, actionable, and knowledge/familiarity) by using a qualitative approach (survey users) and a quantitative approach (implement web analytics on the new integrated website). Preliminary results demonstrate that the report in previous years lack usability and the newly redesigned report and integrated website show promise in terms of fostering usability.

Paper
National Governors Association (NGA)

28. Supporting the Statewide Use of Evidence-Based Practices in Child Welfare. The use of evidence based practices (EBPs) in child welfare continues to grow as initiatives such as Title IV-E waivers become available for scaling or building evidence. Research has focused primarily at the local level needs and implementation challenges, and little is known about the system wide obstacles state administrations face, as well as the supports that can be used to support EBP scaling and use statewide. Interviews with child welfare researchers and practitioners in four states showed that state administration faces obstacles in gaps in knowledge, planning, and implementation however opportunities existed in data and accountability systems, implementation frameworks, partnerships, organizational structure, and policies and regulations. Recommendations are given to state administrations to support the use of EBPs.

Paper


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