Model demonstration projects: Sustainability and scale-up


Shaver, D. (2015, May 27). Sustainability and Scale-Up. Global Implementation Conference, Dublin, Ireland.


The aim of this presentation was to share findings on sustainment and scale-up of model demonstration projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, conducted as part of the Model Demonstration Coordination Center. Some projects resulted in sustainment and scale-up, yet many did not. What factors facilitated or hindered sustainment and scale-up?

Findings were based on follow-up studies of 12 projects in 35 sites (schools, districts, and early intervention or early childhood education programs) to determine whether model components were sustained and/or scaled up 1 to 2 years following model demonstration project grant completion. Qualitative methods (e.g., interviews, focus groups, observations) were used to document the degree of and factors related to model sustainment and scale-up. Projects included represented a wide range of interventions intended to improve outcomes for children and youth.

Model practices were fully sustained in 50% of the original sites, partially sustained in 25% of the sites, and not sustained in 25% of the sites at the time of follow-up. Six of the 12 projects experienced some model scale-up, and two projects saw widespread scale-up of their models.

Findings suggest that capacity building should begin early and be focused on multiple systems levels, from the service delivery level, to the local administrative level, to the larger systems level. Projects that were able to help develop ownership, skills, knowledge, and infrastructure supports at multiple systems levels were more successful than other projects in sustaining and scaling-up practices. A connection to statewide technical assistance networks was the primary factor facilitating widespread model scale-up.

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