Program Development: Emerging, Promising and Best Practices
Once a program or practice has been designed, there are several steps before it can be called a ‘best practice’. It is important to recognize where programs and practices fit in on the emerging, promising, and best practices continuum.
Emerging Practice: A program or practice that is called an ‘emerging practice’ is one that has been carefully designed based on similar programs or practices that have been found to be effective. Activities and outcomes are clearly articulated within the program or practice model. Embedded in the delivery of the program/practice is a process for continual quality improvement that allows for changes that lead to increased effectiveness. The process of developing a strong program/practice is closely linked to an ongoing evaluation.
Promising Practice: A program or practice that has gone through the ‘emerging practice’ stage can be called a ‘promising practice’ once enough evaluation evidence has been gathered and the program/practice demonstrates strong outcomes in a given setting.
Best Practice: In order to call a program/practice a ‘best practice’, the bar is very high. These programs have undergone rigourous evaluation that has been peer-reviewed. The program/practice has been replicated and found to be effective in other settings. It is clear that the program/practice is responsible for positive outcomes, as articulated in the program/practice model, and outcomes are not the result of other external factors.
The following resources are helpful in better understanding the continuum of emerging, promising and best practices in a variety of programmatic areas.