The Urban Institute and the Bipartisan Policy Center hosted a discussion about the role of program evaluation in supporting federal decisionmaking.
There are many approaches to institutionalizing evaluation throughout government, and some agencies have taken steps to do so. As Congress considers additional proposals that would require federal agencies to improve evidence production and strengthen the role of evaluation offices, this briefing helped staff understand approaches for developing infrastructure, how evidence can inform federal program decisions, and where there are opportunities to extend its impact.
Our panel of experts addressed the following questions about evaluation in government:
- Why is evaluation important and necessary for government?
- What is the role of evaluation offices, evaluation staff, and evaluation policies in evidence-based decisionmaking?
- How can congressional committees and executive branch agencies better use evidence, and what additional supports are needed?
The panel was composed of the following:
- Nick Hart, Bipartisan Policy Center. Nick is the former policy director for the US Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking and current chair of the American Evaluation Association’s Evaluation Policy Task Force.
- Demetra Nightingale, Urban Institute. Demetra is the former chief evaluation officer of the US Department of Labor, current adjunct professor in evaluation at the George Washington University, and a widely recognized expert in evaluation practice.
- Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution. Ron is the former cochair of the US Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, appointed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, and former Republican staffer of the House Ways and Means committee.
- Building Evidence Culture and Capacity in Federal Agencies
- Using Evidence for Program and Policy Decisions in Federal Agencies
- Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking final report: The Promise of Evidence-Based Policymaking