This two-day course introduces Welfare-to-Work professionals to the principles of evidence-based policy and practice decision-making in a continuous quality improvement context. Participants will gain tools and techniques for recognizing best practices in performance measurement that can be applied to ongoing agency efforts to strengthen capacity for evidence-based decision making.
Specifically, this course builds skills in recognizing evidence about performance and applying that evidence to decisions and actions at various points in the cyclical process of improvement. Participants will learn how to ask mission-critical questions about the performance of their programs and agencies and how to use administrative data to generate and interpret the answers to those questions. These skills are critical to using evidence to craft and evaluate local/state-level improvement efforts.
In this course, we will cover the following concepts and associated techniques:
- Building a theory of change: Participants are introduced to a four-part template for problem solving using administrative data analysis to support decision making.
- Starting the process of improvement with a question: We focus on analytic questions designed to provide evidence about system-level performance, with regard to human services and self-sufficiency programs
- Matching analytic methods to articulated questions: At its core, this material involves teaching participants to differentiate between entry cohorts, exit cohorts, and point-in-time populations and to understand the implications of each.
- Interpreting reports: Using examples from the Cal-OAR performance measures and dashboard, we will discuss how to understand system trends, focusing on the difference between outcomes and measures of process, quality, and capacity.