This case study describes the scaling of Reading Corps, a literacy intervention designed to improve reading proficiency, by United Ways of Iowa (UWI) and its partners. When scaling Reading Corps, the focus is not only on implementing an intervention, but also on reproducing the same effects for a larger or different population.
 
Goals:
This case study provides insights about how UWI and its partners are scaling Reading Corps, as well as the factors that appear to facilitate and hinder scaling. The case study examines three approaches UWI and its partners used to scale their interventions: expansion, replication, and adaptation.
 
Research Questions:
The research questions are:
  • How did selected grantees define and operationalize scaling?
  • How did selected grantees scale evidence-based interventions?
Findings:
The case study found the following:
  • A highly structured intervention facilitates replication and expansion.
  • Replication and fidelity requirements facilitate the implementation of an effective intervention but limit consideration of changes and improvements.
  • Communication and collaboration help facilitate scaling, although ensuring communication remains strong after scaling can be a challenge.
  • Limited personnel size and organizational infrastructure have been a key challenge.
  • Stakeholder and partner support has contributed to some of the intervention’s greatest strengths and challenges.

For more information, download the case study.

Scaling Evidence-Based Models (SEBM) Project
 The Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) initiated the Scaling Evidence-Based Models project to support the scaling of effective interventions. This case study is part of ORE’s Scaling Evidence-Based Models project, which includes additional resources that contribute to the study and application of scaling effective interventions. Below are additional scaling resources:

Guides:

  • Scaling an Intervention: Recommendations and Resources: The guide provides five key recommendations that will help funders like AmeriCorps, other government agencies, and philanthropic organizations identify which funded interventions are effective, enhance their knowledge base on scaling them, and pursue scaling.

  • How to Fully Describe an Intervention: This guide is intended to help practitioners to thoroughly describe their intervention and communicate the following to potential funders or stakeholders.

  • Build Organizational Capacity to Implement an Intervention: This guide will help practitioners prepare to implement their desired intervention through building organizational capacity, which involves establishing the organizational structure, workforce, resources, processes, and culture to enable success.

  • How to Structure Implementation Supports: This guide will help practitioners develop formal strategies (also known as implementation supports) to help consistently deliver an intervention as it was designed, which is especially helpful for organizations scaling an intervention and assessing implementation fidelity.

  • Making the Most of Data: This guide will help practitioners maximize the use of their intervention data to help their organizations improve program implementation and provide evidence to funders about effectiveness.

  • What Makes for a Well-Designed, Well-Implemented Impact Study: This guide is intended to help practitioners ensure that their evaluators produce high-quality impact studies.

  • Baseline Equivalence: What it is and Why it is Needed: This guide is designed to help practitioners and researchers work together to design an impact study with baseline equivalence and in turn learning how to determine if an impact study is likely to produce meaningful results.

  • Scaling Programs with Research Evidence and Effectiveness (SPREE): This article focuses on how the foundations can apply the SPREE process and provides insights into conditions that can help identify and support effective interventions that are ready to be scaled.

Tools:

  • Scaling Checklists: Assessing Your Level of Evidence and Readiness (SCALER): This guide describes a framework that identifies how organizations can improve both their readiness to scale an intervention and the intervention’s readiness to be scaled, so that intervention services are best positioned to improve outcomes for a larger number of participants. Each checklist in the SCALER provides summary scores to reflect how ready an intervention and organization might be for scaling.

Reports:

Case Studies:

Full report

Full Report

Further information

Program/Intervention
Scaling Reading Corps, Best Practice Dissemination
Implementing Organization
CNCS Office of Research and Evaluation Commissioned Report
Intermediary(s)

United Way of Iowa

Age(s) Studied
0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s)
Schools
Rural
Suburban
Urban
Outcome Category
School readiness
K-12 success
Improving AmeriCorps
Study Type(s)
Case Study or Descriptive
Researcher/Evaluator
Mathematica
Published Year
2020
Study Site Location (State)
Iowa