Building and using evidence
12. Evaluation Use
Does the state use program evaluations to improve results?
The state has improved results by using evaluation, program inventories, and cost-benefit analysis.
As a result of a 2015 Minnesota law, Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) has developed numerous inventories of evidence-based programs, including in the areas of juvenile justice, criminal justice, adult and children’s mental health, substance use disorder, higher education, child welfare, public health, and education. MMB also maintains the Minnesota Inventory, a searchable clearinghouse of more than 730 programs operating in the state. As part of the inventory, the state developed a guide for using evidence in policymaking and evidence definitions to categorize interventions as proven effective, promising, theory based, or no effect. These definitions have been adopted by other agencies and are frequently included in state statute.
In 2021, Minnesota enacted legislation that requires recipients of state-funded pre-K-12 education grants to conduct an evidence-based evaluation. The legislation states: “each grant recipient must compile a report that describes the data that was collected and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies.”
The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy and MMB partnered with The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and a team of academics to test new messages designed to reduce dangerous co-prescribing of opioids with gabapentin and benzodiazepines. The evaluation randomly assigned prescribers to a range of messages (as well as a no message group) and are testing which is most effective. MMB also partnered with J-PAL and academics on a project to identify trusted messages and messengers to encourage Black and Hispanic communities to increase their rates of COVID-19 testing and vaccine uptake. The work also used a randomized control trial to test the right level of incentives to encourage COVID-19 vaccine uptake.