Resource | Brief

Measuring Program Effects in Home Visiting Evaluation: Improving Estimates With Propensity Score Matching

Project: Design Options for Home Visiting Evaluation

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Many awardees of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program use outcome evaluation to understand their initiatives’ impact on children and families.

Well-designed evaluations contribute knowledge to the field of home visiting and inform data-driven policy. Awardees proposing to conduct an outcome evaluation must select a rigorous evaluation design with a suitable comparison to the treatment group. Randomized controlled trials are often considered the gold standard for establishing treatment and comparison groups, though they are not always feasible.

Evaluators can use matching methods like propensity score matching to craft a sound comparison group using a quasi-experimental design. This brief—

  • Defines propensity score matching and other matching methods
  • Covers steps in the matching process
  • Offers suggestions for decreasing bias
  • Presents a hypothetical example of matching in the home visiting context
  • Recommends resources to support high-quality matching