Invest in What Works
State Standard of Excellence

Promising Examples
1. Strategic Goals Did the Governor have public statewide strategic goals?
The Colorado Governor’s Office dashboard outlines four high-priority strategic goals: tax reform and economic development; energy and renewables; health; and education and the workforce. Each goal is aligned with a subset of measurable metrics and goals and the strategies for accomplishing them.
2. Performance Management / Continuous Improvement Did the state or any of its agencies implement a performance management system aligned with its statewide strategic goals, with clear and prioritized outcome-focused goals, program objectives, and measures; and did it consistently collect, analyze, and use data and evidence to improve outcomes, return on investment, and other dimensions of performance?
A 2013 Washington State Executive Order established Results Washington within the Governor’s office as “an innovative, data-driven, performance management initiative, that will drive the operations of state government.”
3. Data Leadership Did the governor’s office or any state agency have a senior staff member(s) with the authority, staff, and budget to collect, analyze, share, and use high-quality administrative and survey data—consistent with strong privacy protections— to improve (or help other entities including, but not limited to, local governments and nonprofit organizations improve) federal, state, and local programs? (Example: chief data officer)
A 2018 Connecticut law formalized the position of Chief Data Officer, created the Connecticut Data Analysis Technology Advisory Board, and required each state agency to designate an agency data officer to manage high value data sets and coordinate data-related activities with the state Chief Data Officer.
4. Data Policies / Agreements Did the state or any of its agencies have data sharing policies and data sharing agreements—consistent with strong privacy protections—with any nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, local government agencies, and/or federal government agencies which were designed to improve outcomes for publicly funded programs, and did it make those policies and agreements publicly available? (Example: data sharing policy, open data policy)
The Washington Education Research and Data Center has a memorandum of understanding which identifies how data will be collected and shared among partners with a strong focus on protecting individual privacy.
5. Data Use Did the state or any of its agencies have data systems consistent with strong privacy protections that linked multiple administrative data sets across state agencies, and did it use those systems to improve federal, state, or local programs?
The Indiana Management Performance Hub, overseen by the state’s Chief Data Officer, houses the integrated Education and Workforce Development database, which brings together data from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana Department of Education, the Department of Workforce Development, and the Family and Social Services Administration.
6. Evaluation Leadership Did the governor’s office or any state agency have a senior staff member(s) with the authority, staff, and budget to evaluate its major programs and inform policy decisions affecting them? (Example: chief evaluation officer)
The Director of the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Research, Evaluation and Advanced Analytics is responsible for helping educational leaders across the state recognize, gather, analyze, evaluate, and leverage data to solve problems and improve student outcomes.
7. Evaluation Policies Did the state or any of its agencies have an evaluation policy, evaluation plan, and research/learning agenda(s), and did it publicly release the findings of all completed evaluations?
In 2018, Minnesota Management and Budget adopted an evaluation policy, which governs its use of evaluations and requires the release of all completed evaluation reports regardless of findings.
8. Evaluation Resources Did the state or any of its agencies invest at least 1% of program funds in evaluations?
Results for America was not able to identify any states with leading or promising examples for this criteria. No examples were identified in 2018 either.
9. Outcome Data Did the state or any of its agencies report or require outcome data for its state-funded programs during their budget process?
The 2013 Colorado State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Government (SMART) Act required all Colorado state agencies to submit annual performance reports to the Colorado state legislature as part of the state’s budget process.
10. Evidence Definition and Program Inventory Did the state or any of its agencies release a common evidence framework, guidelines, or standards to inform its research and funding decisions and make publicly available an inventory of state-funded programs categorized based on at least two tiers of evidence?
Under a 2015 Minnesota law (section 13), Minnesota Management and Budget has developed numerous inventories of evidence-based programs, including in the areas of criminal justice, mental health, child welfare, and higher education.
11. Cost-Benefit Analysis Did the state or any of its agencies assess and make publicly available the costs and benefits of public programs?
A 2013 Washington State law directed the Department of Corrections, in consultation with the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), to compile an inventory of existing programs; determine whether its programs were evidence-based; assess the effectiveness of its programs, including conducting a cost-benefit analysis; and phase out ineffective programs and implement evidence-based programs.
12. Use of Evidence in Grant Programs Did the state or any of its agencies (1) invest at least 50% of program funds in evidence-based solutions or (2) use evidence of effectiveness when allocating funds to eligible grantees (including local governments) from its five largest competitive and noncompetitive grant programs?
Since 2017, the Nevada Department of Education has allocated 100% of the state’s $8.5 million in federal Title I school improvement funds to districts and schools for interventions backed by strong, moderate, or promising evidence.
13. Innovation Did the state or any of its agencies have staff, policies, and processes in place that encouraged innovation to improve outcomes?
The California Government Operations Agency (GovOps), which serves as an umbrella organization for the state’s innovation work, is designed to institutionalize policies, tools, and training that can drive its mission to modernize the processes of government through lean process improvement, data, leadership, and performance improvement.
14. Contracting for Outcomes Did the state or any of its agencies enter into performance-based contracts and/or use active contract management (frequent use of data and regular communication with providers to monitor implementation and progress) to improve outcomes for publicly funded programs?
Since 2015, Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) has worked to reform and restructure the department’s procurement processes.
15. Repurpose for Results Did the state or any of its agencies shift funds away from any practice, policy, or program which consistently failed to achieve desired outcomes?
Since 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has set performance targets for its community corrections program through performance-based contracts.

1. The views expressed herein are those of Results for America and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pew Charitable Trusts or the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.