The rationale, application, and outcomes of the Systemic Screening and Assessment (SSA) Method, an innovative combination of existing evaluation methods, are described. The SSA Method is a cost-effective way to assist program funders, practitioners, and researchers in selecting the most promising innovations already in use and then preparing them for further, more rigorous evaluation. The focus of the issue is methodology, with abundant practical description of its application. The SSA Method is a six-step process:
selecting a topic or theme
soliciting nominations of innovations that address the theme
using an expert panel to screen these nominations for those with the highest plausibility of meeting criteria for promise
conducting evaluability assessments on the nominations that pass this screen
expert panel review of the evaluability assessment reports
The final step uses the information in three ways: to identify the innovations that are most promising and ready for evaluation, provide constructive feedback to the innovations that all reflect a similar program type. This issue describes use of the SSA Method in a 2-year collaborative project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the CDC Foundation, aimed at changing the prevalence of childhood obesity at the level of an entire population.
This is the 125th volume of New Directions for Evaluation, an official publication of the American Evaluation Association.