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March 31, 2023

Agencies Publish Their Latest Annual Evaluation Plans

By The Evidence Team, OMB

Agencies have now published their latest Annual Evaluation Plans, which describe the significant evaluation activities they will undertake during fiscal year 2024. The plans reflect the strengthening of a culture of evidence across the Federal Government as agencies identify where evaluation can help build evidence where it is most needed. The evaluations included in these plans cover a wide range of programs as well as operational practices, will generate evidence on processes, outcomes, and impacts, and reflect the full suite of evaluation methodologies. We encourage you to explore the documents linked here or from the agency pages.

Here are a few examples of the exciting evaluations expected in FY 2024:

The Department of Education is conducting an impact evaluation of efforts aimed at supporting students struggling in reading under the Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Reading (MTSS-R) Early Elementary School. This randomized study evaluates the effectiveness of two promising strategies that differ in the way they help teachers with instruction of the core curriculum and in how closely that curriculum is linked to the supplemental support. The strategies also differ on whether the supplemental support pre-teaches the core curriculum or uses an alternative curriculum with lessons tailored to student needs. This study will answer questions about the effectiveness of these activities in improving students' reading skills and achievement, and for supporting students identified as struggling in reading in making more significant gains.
The Small Business Administration will study agency practices that contribute to equitable Federal spending. The study will assess leading practices for successfully contracting with a diverse pool of small businesses and strategies that have the potential to increase equity in Federal procurement. Through interviews, surveys, or focus groups combined with literature review and quantitative analysis, the study will uncover agency practices that promote equity in contracting. The study will provide evidence on activities that support equitable Federal procurement spending with socially and economically underserved small businesses and identify activities that can be broadly adopted by Federal agencies to promote equity in Federal procurement.
At the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, an evaluation of mobile technologies implemented for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP program will assess up to five projects that pilot the use of this technology. The evaluation will build evidence on how the use of these technologies affect participant access, ease of use, and program integrity to facilitate decision-making around the broad authorization of the use of mobile technologies.
USDA's Rural Development in collaboration with USDA's Economic Research Service will evaluate a number of programs that all have the common goal of promoting access to broadband in rural areas. E-connectivity is fundamental to economic development, innovation, technological advancement, workforce readiness, and the improvement of quality of life in rural and Tribal communities. The in-depth evaluation of these programs will utilize rigorous quasi-experimental methods, including matching, matching with regression, difference-in-difference analysis, synthetic matching, instrumental variable analysis, and regression discontinuity.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security will evaluate grants within the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program (CIGP) aimed at expanding the availability of citizenship preparation and integration services for immigrants across the nation. Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services (CINAS) supports organizations that prepare immigrants for citizenship by offering citizenship and English instruction and naturalization application services, while Community and Regional Integration Network Grant (CARING) supports organizations that provide extended integration services to vulnerable immigrant populations who entered the United States through or benefited from USCIS' humanitarian programs. The evaluation will assess implementation approaches and the programs' contributions to desired participant outcomes, such as improved English language proficiency, civics knowledge, and naturalization of participants. Results from the study will inform what, if any, changes are needed to improve program design and implementation to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in these grant programs.
The Social Security Administration will evaluate the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program, which provides disability insurance (DI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with access to employment-related services from agency-approved service providers and vocational rehabilitation agencies. For DI beneficiaries and SSI recipients, the Ticket program is a free and voluntary program that can help individuals seeking work to obtain and maintain employment and participate in job training and workforce development opportunities. The evaluation is focused on the experiences of the users with an emphasis on identifying barriers to service equity. The questions that this evaluation seeks to answer include, to what extent are the Ticket and Work Incentives Planning and Assistance programs working effectively and efficiently? Does the effectiveness of services vary based on demographics? And, to what extent are services keeping up with modern technological changes?

This is just a small sample of the evaluation work planned across the government to ensure that programs and policies are informed by and reflect the best available evidence. Be sure to explore the full agency FY 2024 Annual Evaluation Plans to learn more.


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