Results-Based Accountability


Results-Based Accountability (RBA) was developed by Mark Friedman of the Fiscal Policies Studies Institute. It is a disciplined way of thinking and taking action that can be used to improve quality of life in communities, cities, counties, states, and nations, as well as to improve the performance of programs. RBA is a simple, plain language approach to measurement that puts the focus on the ends and works backward to the means.

RBA enables policymakers, funders, and program administrators to identify how well they are doing in achieving a particular quality of life result and where they might need to make changes. “If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.”

If the projected performance is not acceptable, the RBA methodology helps stakeholders identify what changes will be needed to “turn the curve,” that is, move the trend line in a positive direction.

The Appropriations Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly has adopted the RBA approach which began in 2005, to identify how well funded programs are doing in achieving a particular quality of life result and where changes may need to be made.

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has also embraced the RBA approach as means to demonstrate program success, improve programs that the CSDE administers, and showcase these results to the legislature in a meaningful, easy way to understand.

CSDE’s RBA History

The CSDE’s RBA work started in 2005 via the General Assembly and the Early Childhood Education Cabinet. The purpose of this effort was to promote the well-being, school readiness and early school success of Connecticut’s young children by piloting RBA as the framework for greater public accountability, interagency collaboration and program improvement. Since that initial pilot, many CSDE programs have developed RBA Templates and Report Cards and made subsequent presentations to the Appropriations Committee.

RBA History by Year
Year Programs Primary Funding Source
2005 Pilot School Readiness State
2006 Child and Adult Food Care Program Federal
2006 Early Childhood Special Education Federal
2006 Family Resource Centers State
2006 Even Start Program Federal
2007 Adult Education Local/State/Federal
2007 Early Reading Success State
2008 After School Programs State
2008 CT Technical High School System State
2008 Primary Mental Health Federal/State
2008 Special Education Teachers in Training State
2009 Interdistrict Magnet Schools State
2010 Updated Interdistrict Magnet Schools State
2011 Charter Schools State
2012 Adult Education Federal/State
2012 Connecticut Technical High School System State

CSDE’s Vision-RBA Agency Model

Creating a long term plan that will anchor the results thinking into the CSDE culture!

The CSDE has begun development of an RBA model for the agency that will align with agency priorities. This agency RBA model will serve as the structural foundation for the State Board of Education five year (2012-2017) Comprehensive Plan for Education that is required by Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-4(c). Using the RBA approach as the basis for this strategic plan will:

  • link agency work across divisions and bureaus to a common set of results;
  • inform the allocation of agency resources and the strategic discontinuance of nonessential activities;
  • inform the selection and timeline of future programs for which RBA reports should be developed;
  • guide strategic organizational decision making so that the work of the agency remains aligned to the desired results;
  • facilitate clear communication to all constituencies on progress made annually; and
  • support communication between partners as the agency examines its contribution to the population result.

Since embarking on the RBA journey, the CSDE has been successful in using RBA with local grantees of Family Resource Centers, After School Programs, Youth Service Bureaus and Even Start Programs. It is the CSDE’s vision that upon full development and implementation of the agency model, the RBA methodology will be expanded into all other agency grants.