‘Rigor’ : Still a Watchword in the Obama Administration

By Debra Viadero — June 12, 2009 1 min read
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If you thought the federal government’s push for evidence-based practices was going to go away in the Obama administration, think again.

In his blog over at the Office of Management and Budget, director Peter R. Orszag writes about his commitment to rigorous evaluations of the programs that the federal government funds. He describes his “two-tier” approach to promoting evidence-based practice below:

First, we’re providing more money to programs that generate results backed up by strong evidence. That’s the top tier. Then, for an additional group of programs, with some supportive evidence but not as much, we’ve said: Let’s try those too, but rigorously evaluate them and see whether they work. Over time, we hope that some of those programs will move into the top tier—but, if not, we’ll redirect their funds to other, more promising efforts.

If you read through the blog entry, you’ll see that OMB borrows some of its thinking on this topic from the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a Washington group that promotes the use of rigorous evaluations of what works, and randomized controlled studies in particular, in government decision-making.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.