Outcomes Measurement in Evaluating Family Programs - Promises and Pitfalls of Large Scale Uses of Outcome Based Accountability

Heather B. Weiss, Ed.D., Director, Harvard Family Research Center, Harvard University

Interest in outcome-based accountability to orient, drive, and assess efforts to improve public services is growing, not coincidentally, with public disillusionment with government and the programs it sponsors to improve the life chances of children and families. This paper critically examines the concept of outcome-based accountability, describes lessons from several efforts to put it into practice, and presents emerging ideas about how to enrich the concept to enhance its capacity to improve child outcomes.

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