Return on Investment: Where should leaders invest? - FAQ

Return on Investment: Where should leaders invest?

The Effects of School Spending on Educational and Economic Outcomes: Evidence From School Finance Reforms
Purpose: To understand whether, how and why school spending affects student outcomes
Issue/Topic: Finance--Does Money Matter?
Author(s): Jackson, C. Kirabo; Johnson, Rucker C.; Persico, Claudia
Organization(s): Northwestern University & University of California
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper
Published on: 1/1/2015
Findings/Results: Researchers found that increased per-pupil spending, induced by school finance reforms narrowed adult socioeconomic attainment differences between those raised in low-income and high-income families. They find that money does matter and that better school...

Efficacy of the Responsive Classroom Approach: Results from a 3-Year, Longitudinal Randomized Controlled Trial
Purpose: To examine the impact of a social and emotional learning (SEL) program (specifically the Responsive Classroom approach) on student achievement
Issue/Topic: Social/Emotional Learning and Non-Cognitive Skills Instructional Approaches
Author(s): Rimm-Kaufman, Sara E.; Larsen, Ross A. A.; Baroody, Alison E.; Curby, Timothy W.; Ko, Michelle; Thomas, Julia B.; Merritt, Eileen G.; Abry, Tashia; DeCoster, Jamie
Organization(s): University of Virginia; George Mason University; Arizona State University
Publication: American Educational Research Journal
Published on: 5/16/2014
  • Generally, students in the classrooms receiving instruction using the Responsive Classroom (RC) program had about the same math and reading performance levels as students not receiving RC instruction.
  • When teachers used the RC teaching met...

Cross-National Educational Inequalities and Opportunities to Learn: Conflicting Views of Instructional Time
Purpose: To re-examine the effects of instructional time using improved measures of instructional time, a more extensive data set (2006 PISA), and a more nuanced multilevel model
Issue/Topic: Scheduling/School Calendar--Year
Author(s): Long, Daniel
Organization(s): Wesleyan University
Publication: Educational Policy
Published on: 5/8/2014
  • International evidence is consistent with the claims that it is not total amount of time that is important for instruction, but how this time is used.
  • Representative sample selection and specific uses of time in school have...

Looking Beyond Enrollment: Causal Effect of Need-Based Grants on College Access, Persistence, and Graduation
Purpose: (1) To estimate the impact of student eligibility for the Florida Student Access Grant on college persistence and degree completion; (2) to investigate the interaction between need-based and merit-based aid.
Issue/Topic: Postsecondary Affordability--Financial Aid; Postsecondary Participation--Access; Postsecondary Students--Low-Income; Postsecondary Success--Completion
Author(s): Castleman, Benjamin; Long, Bridget
Organization(s): Harvard Graduate School of Education; University of Virginia
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published on: 8/1/2013

Student Outcomes

  • The additional $1,300 in need-based aid increased the probability of completing a bachelor's degree within 150% time (i.e., six years) by 4.6 percentage points, or 22%.

  • Need-elig...

The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children's Cognitive Development
Purpose: To study the effects of birth weight on cognitive development from kindergarten through schooling.
Issue/Topic: Health; P-3; P-3 Brain Development; P-3 Early Intervention (0-3)
Author(s): Figlio, David; Guryan, Jonathan; Karbownik, Krzysztof; Roth, Jeffrey
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published on: 2/15/2013

The effects of low birth weight (poor neonatal health) on cognitive development from kindergarten through schooling is significant.

  • This cognitive advantage appears to remain stable through the elementary and middle school years.

Social Policy and the Achievement Gap: What Do We Know? Where Should We Head?
Purpose: To determine whether social policy can bring about a change in academic performance substantial enough to significantly reduce the achievement gap and whether such changes in social policy are affordable and feasible.
Issue/Topic: Student Achievement--Closing the Achievement Gap
Author(s): Bower, Corey
Organization(s): Vanderbilt University
Publication: Education and Urban Society
Published on: 1/16/2013

If there is anything on which education researchers agree, it is that student achievement is influenced more by nonschool factors than in-school factors -- and the evidence is overwhelming.

We have plenty of reason to believe that social policy m...

Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout: A Randomized Field Experiment
Purpose: To determine whether an intervention that includes regular exposure to pro-social adults, after-school programming and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) affects outcomes in disadvantaged youth, and which elements of the intervention matter most.
Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); School Safety
Author(s): Ludwig, Jens; Heller, Sara; Pollack, Harold; Ander, Roseanna
Organization(s): National Bureau of Economic Research
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published on: 1/1/2013
Findings/Results: The intervention program consisted of regular exposure to pro-social adults, after-school programming and -- perhaps the most novel ingredient -- cognitive behaviorial therapy (CBT). CBT is a short-duration intervention from psychology that helps people r...

Higher Education, Merit-Based Scholarships and Post-Baccalaureate Migration
Purpose: To investigate whether merit aid eligibility makes it more likely for residents to remain in the state in which they were born; to examine whether merit aid makes it more likely that a person obtains at least a baccalaureate degree.
Issue/Topic: Economic/Workforce Development; Postsecondary Affordability--Financial Aid
Author(s): Fitzpatrick, Maria; Jones, Damon
Organization(s): Cornell University; University of Chicago
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published on: 11/1/2012
Findings/Results: Merit Aid and Migration Effects
  • Merit aid eligibility increases the probability that 24 to 32 year olds will live in their states of birth by 0.9%--a positive but statistically insignificant relationship.
  • Interestingly, when lookin...

When Educators are the Learners: Private Contracting by Public Schools
Purpose: To examine the role of social learning by assessing the extent to which school and district administrators choose to contract with private vendors with whom their peers previously had particularly good experiences.
Issue/Topic: Education Research; Privatization
Author(s): Forbes, Silke; Gordon, Nora
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper
Published on: 6/1/2012

The authors find strong evidence that schools tend to contract with providers used by other schools in their own districts in the past, regardless of past performance. The authors even found no evidence of social learning among schools that share simil...

Relocation Programs, Opportunities to Learn, and the Complications of Conversion
Purpose: To provide the first comprehensive evaluation summary of seven relocation programs and the reasons why six of them failed to replicate the educational successes of the inaugural Gautreaux program. (The Gautreux program was the first program to demonstrate success in linking educational trajectories to differences in environmental opportunity over the course of time.)
Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); Choice of Schools; Equity
Author(s): Johnson, Odis
Publication: Review of Educational Research
Published on: 5/15/2012

  • Programs that followed the Gautreaux demonstrations struggled to replicate the program's results due in part because of a failure to meet the Gautreaux’s program standards.  
  • Such programs are based on abstract t...

Does Shortening the School Week Impact Student Performance? Evidence from the Four-Day School Week
Purpose: To determine the relationship between the four-day school week and academic performance among elementary school students
Issue/Topic: Scheduling/School Calendar--Week
Author(s): Anderson, D. Mark; Walker, Mary Beth
Organization(s): Montana State University; Georgia State University
Published on: 2/1/2012
Findings/Results: The four-day school week is associated with:
  • An increase in the percentage of 5th grade students scoring proficient or advanced on Colorado's math achievement test. 
  • A smaller but still significant increase in the percentage of 4th gra...

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Interventions that Improve High School Completion
Purpose: To describe the tool of cost-effectiveness analysis, to identify methodological challenges in its application, to present cost-effectiveness cost analyses of several programs, to demonstrate how cost-effectiveness comparisons can be used to inform decision-makers.
Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); High School
Author(s): Belfield, Clive; Bowden, A.; Cheng, Henan; Hanisch-Cerda, Barbara; Hollands, Fiona; Levin, Henry; Pan, Yilin; Shand, Robert
Organization(s): Teachers College, Columbia University
Publication: Teachers College, Columbia University
Published on: 1/1/2012
  • The cost to produce each extra high school completer through educational reforms such as interventions studied here are very high, ranging from $70,000 to $195,000 per completer excluding Talent Search.
  • Broadly, of the class of pr...

If and When Money Matters: The Relationships among Educational Expenditures, Student Engagement, and Students' Learning Outcomes
Purpose: To examine the relationships among educational expenditures, student engagement and learning outcomes for first-year students and seniors.
Issue/Topic: Finance--Does Money Matter?; Postsecondary Finance--Efficiency/Performance-Based Funding
Author(s): Ethington, Corinna; Kuh, George; McCormick, Alexander; Pike, Gary; Smart, John
Organization(s): Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis; University of Indiana; University of Memphis
Publication: Research in Higher Education
Published on: 9/18/2010
  • Expenditures were significantly and positively related to...first-year students' self-reported cognitive outcomes (in areas such as general education, writing and speaking effectively, quantitative analysis, and critical thinking).

Tripartite Growth Trajectories of Reading and Math Achievement: Tracking National Academic Progress at Primary, Middle, and High School Levels
Purpose: To examine trends in American students' growth trajectories in reading and math achievement over the past three decades.
Issue/Topic: P-16 or P-20; Student Achievement
Author(s): Lee, Jaekyung
Organization(s): State University of New York at Buffalo
Publication: American Educational Research Journal
Published on: 1/1/2010

1. American students may be gaining ground at the pre/early primary school level, holding ground at the middle school level, and losing ground at the high school level.

2. The comparison of standardized reading and math gains clearly suggests tha...

Low Birth Weight, Preschool Education, and School Remediation
Purpose: To investigate whether a high-quality preschool program can reduce the negative effects of low family income and low birth weight on the need for special education and grade retention.
Issue/Topic: P-3 Evaluation/Economic Benefits
Author(s): Arteaga, Irma; Reynolds, Arthur; Temple, Judy
Organization(s): University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Publication: Education and Urban Society
Published on: 1/1/2010

Low birth-weight and family risk factors.

Contrary to results in many published studies, for urban children from low-income families, low birth weight is not a predictor of later special education services (low birth weight is d...

How Much Do Educational Outcomes Matter in OECD Countries?
Purpose: To examine whether improved human capital, measured by cognitive skills, has the potential for substantial improvements in the long term economic well-being of OECD countries
Issue/Topic: Economic/Workforce Development
Author(s): Hanushek, Eric; Woessmann, Ludger
Organization(s): Hoover Institution; Ifo Institute for Economic Research and CESifo
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper
Published on: 1/1/2010

Education policy is closely associated with the long-term growth potentials of countries across the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

  • Cognitive skills are important for economic growth. Yet simply knowing that ...

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