William Elliott, Founding Director, Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion, University of Kansas Lawrence, Kansas
Anthony Poore, Deputy Director, Regional and Community Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Brief: Identifying Short Term Outcome Metrics for Evaluating Whether Children's Savings Accounts Programs Are on Track, William Elliott and Kelly Harrington, 2016
About the Presentation
Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs) are springing up all around the country. Many begin with very young children-at birth or kindergarten age. Research shows that interventions of many kinds are most effective in early formative years. Therefore, initiating CSAs for the youngest makes a lot of sense.
Beginning with the youngest also poses challenges. Funders are investing based on research that suggests positive effects of a child having savings early: children and their families see themselves as destined for college and are more likely to attend and complete. At the same time, waiting more than a decade to measure actual impact is problematic.
Funders and other stakeholders seek feasible and informative benchmarks to measure success in a shorter time frame. Earlier measures could also inform real-time modifications in project design to maximize achievement of the long-term objectives
The New England Children's Savings Account Consortium, facilitated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, released a report that addresses this need for earlier measurement. AFN is pleased to have partnered with the Consortium and the Boston Federal Reserve to introduce discussion of this important question for the CSA field.
On May 4, 2016, William Elliott, Founding Director, Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, outlined a model for interim measures and shared theoretically and empirically based interim metrics for evaluating CSA progress.
Anthony Poore, Deputy Director, Regional and Community Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, provided context for the Consortium's interest in short-term benchmarks.
The model links intended outcomes, factors contributing to those outcomes, and ways to test the effects of CSAs. Establishing interim measures can address both whether a project is on track to overall success and whether and what modifications may be warranted to ensure success.