LEVER Virtual Convening: Pathways to Implementing Evaluations

Live via Zoom
Collage of a woman construction worker wearing a mask and hard hat, a public bus driving in front of a crosswalk on a sunny day, a classroom where a teacher is calling on students and three students are raising their hands.
Photo credits: Left and Right: Shutterstock.com; Center: Alexandre Tziripouloff, Shutterstock.com
Convening Overview

J-PAL North America and Results for America are supporting government leaders and decision makers who are harnessing data, evaluation, and evidence to advance economic mobility through our Leveraging Evaluation and Evidence for Equitable Recovery (LEVER) programming.

As governments across the nation lead the work of advancing economic mobility in their communities, there’s much to be learned from one another on assessing the effectiveness of their interventions. This convening will connect government leaders and decision makers facing similar policy issues to share their evaluation experiences and challenges and how to build effective researcher-practitioner partnerships. Through three panels and a discussion session, this convening will:

  • Share best practices and stories from researcher-practitioner partnerships that can help jurisdictions advance efforts to build capacity for research, data, and evidence use.
  • Facilitate knowledge-sharing and networking among policymakers.
  • Connect jurisdictions interested in research and identify jurisdictions who may be interested in a program evaluation partnership, either now or in the future. 

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  • Introductions
  • Panel sessions (60 minutes)
    • Panel 1: Laying the foundations for research
    • Panel 2: Researcher-government partnerships in state and local governments
    • Panel 3: Engaging community in research process and policymaking
  • Audience Q&A in breakout groups (15 minutes)
  • Closing


Panel Descriptions

Panel 1: Laying the foundations for research

State and local governments are eager to use evaluations to improve the effectiveness of their programs and policies. However, in this process they have to navigate through different operative and administrative challenges. This panel aims to share lessons learned by state and local governments in their journey to introduce and run evaluations of interventions and programs in their jurisdictions. Panelists will cover topics such as, what to have in place before an evaluation, things they would have loved to know before starting the evaluation, and how the LEVER training sprint helped them in their evaluation journey.

Moderator: Chelsea Powell, Results for America


  • Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, Director of Evaluation and Impact at State of Connecticut, Office of Policy and Management
  • Rachel Maltz, Senior Program Manager at City of Carlsbad

Panel 2: Researcher-government partnerships in state and local governments

Jurisdictions and their research partner will discuss the process of partnering on an evaluation aimed at generating evidence and contributing to evidence-based policymaking. Researchers will also speak to other ways in which they have partnered with jurisdictions to help them put in place the tools they need to evaluate programs.

Moderator: Emma Noble Smith, J-PAL North America


  • Ricardo Basurto, Chief Evaluation Officer at San Diego County
  • Emily Owens, Chair of the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California, Irvine 
  • Shawn Watts, Project Manager at Shasta County Superior Court

Panel 3: Engaging community in research process and policymaking

Fostering trusted relationships between researchers, governments and communities will enable governments to better understand and address existing disparities. Panelists will share their experiences working with communities to improve programs aimed to improve the lives of those experiencing poverty.

Moderator: Noreen Giga, J-PAL North America



Contact us

Questions? Get in touch with us via [email protected].