Ranking Methodology

To best guide Promising Practice database users, Healthy Communities Institute makes distinctions between practices that have been thoroughly and scientifically reviewed from those that have undergone less rigorous, or perhaps no evaluation. Each practice in our database is assigned one of the following three program ratings:

Evidence-based Practice:

  1. The program description includes at a minimum: the sponsoring organization, program goals, program implementation steps, and outcomes that have demonstrated program success in achieving the program goal in one or more localities.
  2. The results from an evaluation of the program include quantitative measures showing improvement in the outcome(s) of interest after the implementation of the program (i.e. increase in smoking cessation, not just the delivery of a smoking cessation program). The outcome measure(s) is/are compared at relevant time periods before and after the intervention or program implementation. Alternatively, the evaluation study compares the outcome(s) between an intervention group and an appropriate control group.
  3. The study is of peer-review quality and presents numbers in a scientific manner; measurements of precision and reliability are included (e.g. confidence intervals, standard errors), results from statistical tests show a significant difference or change in the outcome measure(s), and relevant point estimates and p-values are presented. Note: if the results from an evaluation of a program are presented in a scientific manner and the outcome measure is improved compared to the baseline measurement or the control group but the difference is not statistically significant, the practice is classified as effective and not evidence-based.

Effective Practice:

  1. The program description includes at a minimum: the sponsoring organization, program goals, program implementation steps, and outcomes that have demonstrated program success and/or promise in achieving the program goal in one or more localities.
  2. The results from an evaluation of the program include quantitative measures of improvement in outcome of interest (i.e. increase in voter registration, not just delivery of voter registration drive) and/ or the outcome measure is increased or improved compared to the baseline measurement or the control group but the difference is not statistically significant.

Good Idea:

  1. The program description includes: the sponsoring organization, program goals, program funding source, program implementation steps and outcomes.
  2. The program evaluation is limited to descriptive measure(s) of success/accomplishment (i.e., program participation rates, number of services/education sessions/radio messages provided). Note: oftentimes, the program has been newly implemented and a program evaluation has not yet been conducted. Programs that have not yet been evaluated, but which show promise in improving health or quality of life, are classified as Good Ideas until an evaluation is conducted.