Panel: Evaluating the Effects and Costs of Policy: Current Topics and Applications in Education
(Tools of Analysis: Methods, Data, Informatics and Research Design)

Saturday, November 4, 2017: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Dusable (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  A. Brooks Bowden, North Carolina State University
Discussants:  Thomas Brock, Institute of Education Sciences

Simplifying Cost Research Design for Educational Field Trials
A. Brooks Bowden, North Carolina State University

Power Analysis for Multilevel Cluster Randomized Cost Effectiveness Trials
Wei Li, University of Alabama, Nianbo Dong, University of Missouri and Rebecca Maynard, University of Pennsylvania

The Impacts and Costs of the Florida College & Career Readiness Initiative
Christine Mokher and Daniel Leeds, CNA Education

Networked Improvement Community Approach for Improving Equal Access to Effective Teachers: Effectiveness and Cost Implications
Natalya Gnedko-Berry, Jesse Levin, Iliana Brodziak de los Reyes, Candace Hamilton Hester, Trisha Borman and David Manzeske, American Institutes for Research

In today's public policy environment, the need for support and improved educational outcomes is as strong as ever, while publicly provided programs are being drastically cut. Budget cuts for education have been so drastic that in a majority of states education funding continues to be below pre-recession levels (Leachman, Albares, Masterson, & Wallace, 2016).


Within this context of substantial constraint, principals, district personnel, state-level officials, and federal policymakers are forced to allocate scare resources to achieve educational goals. For this reason, decisions must be premised not only on the potential to achieve positive outcomes, but also on the costs for obtaining those outcomes (Levin, 2016). It is critical then that research within education provide rigorous evidence of the incremental impacts and costs produced by public investments to aid in decisionmaking. 


Economic evaluations, such as cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analysis, provide estimates of the effects and costs of programs and policies within education. More specifically, all ingredients that were utilized to achieve effects are analyzed to estimate the true cost of the intervention. By examining if an approach works as intended and the resources required to produce an impact, decisions are more informed and can be related to local needs and resource availability. In short, data on costs and effects provide support for policy decisions.


The 3rd edition of the classic Levin (1983) and Levin & McEwan (2001) textbooks on cost-effectiveness is forthcoming in the summer of 2017. Methods of Economic Evaluation in Education: Cost-Effectivness and Benefit-Cost Analysis provides a strong foundation for conducting and evaluating cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analyses (Levin, McEwan, Belfield, Bowden, & Shand, forthcoming). 


This panel provides two important topics related to research on effects and costs within education. First, the panel will address two developments in the area of study design. One will address the design of cost research within field trials. Another addresses the potential for considering costs when estimating power during study design. The second portion of the panel includes two evaluations that apply the ingredients method to examine costs as well as impacts. The first evaluates national teaching standards and the second examines a college and career readiness program. 


As a whole, this panel advances the methods of and provides practical applications of evaluations within education that consider costs and impacts.