Government on the scale, Part III
I suspect Senator Conrad and the anonymous letter writer use the term “metrics” to denote different things. There is indeed a profusion of program activity metrics in many federally-funded programs. Many academics--myself included--have participated in efforts to produce these numbers. GPRA- measures are quite valuable to document that you have done the work, and to characterize the populations an intervention serves. These measures do not provide the kind of program evaluation information policymakers really need to understand which programs are most effective or cost-effective. Funders generally require too many numbers and reports, which have a way of being collected in a nice binder that sits on a shelf, pleasantly undisturbed.
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