Obama Administration’s New Performance Grade: Improved, But Work Remains

The Obama administration has made substantial progress in measuring federal program effectiveness, but more needs to be done to shift federal funding to programs that work, according to a scorecard released Monday by Results for America, a bipartisan advocacy organization that supports greater performance in government.

“This administration believes in the power of evidence,” said OMB Director Shaun Donovan at an event announcing the new ratings. “Evidence should drive policy decisions. We need to do what works and stop doing what doesn’t.”

The scorecard rated seven federal agencies, both domestic and international, including the Department of Education, HUD, Department of Labor, and USAID. It was assembled after consulting with more than 75 current and former federal officials and other experts earlier this year.

Most of the rated agencies have made significant progress in embedding the use of performance data and program evaluations in their decision-making, according to the report.  It commended the administration for strengthening federal evaluation offices, adopting agencywide evaluation policies and research agendas, and building out information clearinghouses like the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse.

The agencies received lower scores on integrating performance information into the federal grantmaking process, however. The administration received its worst ratings on cutting or shifting funding away from programs, practices or policies that were not working.

Continue reading SIRC’s column at Government Executive.

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