The SCALER framework can help organizations improve the lives of more people by preparing them to successfully scale effective interventions. As shown in the figure above, the SCALER helps organizations (1) ensure the intervention to be scaled is likely to produce desired outcomes and is therefore worthy of being scaled and (2) identify whether the effective intervention and the organization are ready to scale.

Scaling involves expanding, replicating, or adapting an intervention to improve lives for larger numbers of people and communities. It is considered successful when the intervention maintains or surpasses its beneficial impacts for participants after the scaling has occurred. The types of scaling are:

  • Expansion extends the intervention to more people in the same target population in the same location. An example would be increasing the number of unemployed adults served at an employment center by hiring five more job search specialists who will each serve 20 more adults.
  • Replication extends the intervention for the same target population to a new location. An example would be implementing a reading program designed for 5th graders in a new school district, city, and state, but serving the same target population of 5th graders.
  • Adaptation extends the intervention to a different target population in either the same or different location or modifies the intervention for the same population in either the same or different location. An example would be modifying a parent training curriculum designed for mothers to include language that is more inclusive of fathers.

The SCALER framework is based on successful scaling principles that have emerged from implementation science research. The checklists in this guide were developed from rubrics used to assess AmeriCorps grantees’ evidence of effectiveness for funded interventions and readiness to scale. More information on the SCALER framework is available in a report developed for AmeriCorps.

View SCALER Report, opens in a new window

The SCALER is intended for organizations that are seeking to scale effective interventions. We recommend designating one person or role at an organization to be the SCALER owner, such as the intervention’s program or data manager. Because personnel at all levels are involved in intervention scaling, the SCALER owner will want to involve others including:

  • Executive directors
  • Program managers or frontline supervisors
  • Measurement, learning, and evaluation personnel (data managers or internal evaluation specialists)
  • Administrative personnel (human resources, development, or purchasing personnel)
To complete the SCALER, you will require:

  • Familiarity with any research studies that have been conducted on your intervention
  • Knowledge of your organization’s preparedness and support for building evidence for your intervention if needed
  • An understanding of your intervention’s core activities, target population, and implementation supports, along with your organization’s culture and infrastructure that can support scaling

After completing the SCALER, you will get detailed reports summarizing your responses. Use these reports to:

  • Identify activities your organization can take to enhance your scaling readiness
  • Discuss areas that need further attention, resources, or support with key stakeholders, organizational leaders, and funders

You can also use the SCALER to gauge your organization’s progress over time. You may retake the SCALER or return to update previous responses as often as is helpful.

Because getting ready to scale your intervention is a process that occurs over time, you can return to the SCALER to complete, edit, or review a self-assessment you have already started or completed. To return to the SCALER, you can email it to yourself or copy a unique web address that you can use later. The unique web address will be active for 24 months. You also have the option to print your results as you complete each step of the SCALER.

SCALER steps


The SCALER consists of three steps:


Identifying evidence of effectiveness

Use this checklist to assess whether your intervention has evidence of effectiveness. If evidence of the intervention’s effectiveness does not exist, such evidence must be built. Should the intervention be shown to be effective, the organization would get ready to scale.


Building evidence of effectiveness

If evidence of the intervention’s effectiveness does not exist, use this checklist as your organization seeks to build evidence of effectiveness for your intervention. Should the intervention be shown to be effective, the organization would get ready to scale.


Getting ready to scale

Use the checklists in this step to assess whether your organization and intervention are ready to scale. The checklists assess five conditions necessary to facilitate successful scaling: (1) Specifying the intervention, (2) Defining the target population, (3) Establishing implementation supports, (4) Having an enabling context, and (5) Establishing an implementation infrastructure.

Planning your next steps

Use the discussion guide questions to identify next steps for strengthening your scaling readiness after completing the SCALER.

View Planning Your Next Steps Guide


Visit the resource library to (1) understand the components of rigorous research and where to look for evidence of your intervention’s effectiveness, (2) make preparations and build evidence for your intervention if it does not currently exist, and (3) ensure your organization and intervention are ready to scale before scaling begins.

View SCALER Resources, opens in a new window