Categories for Education Resources
July 10, 2018
The Effect of Voucher Programs on Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis
News Summary: This meta-analysis examines the effectiveness of school voucher programs for improving student achievement. The research is of special interest for three important reasons; (1) it examines an important policy issue relevant to educators and the public, (2) it is an example of a study designed to replicate previous research on an important topic, and (3) it highlights the importance of examining the cost effectiveness associated with implementing practices in real world settings.
The use of school vouchers as a means to improve the quality of education has been an attractive, although controversial. It has been touted as a way to use public funding to overcome academic deficits in school systems. Enabling parents to exercise choice as to where to send a child to school is enticing. It appeals to the belief that exercising “control” over where your child can go to school will have an impaction the quality of education. The important question is, does this type of structural intervention produce both statistically significant, but more importantly do school vouchers produce socially significant academic gains?
This study tries to answer this question by replicating a previous meta-analysis of school voucher programs by Shakeel, Anderson, and Wolf (2016). The studies included in both meta-analyses required that to be included in the research individual studies must use randomized control trials of school voucher programs reporting quantitative measures of reading and/or math performance. The Wing Institute chose to include this new item to feature the need for replicating research as means to increase confidence in the results and broaden our knowledge base on a topic. The results indicated that, compared to the original study, this meta-analysis obtained smaller effect sizes with larger standard errors. This is not surprising as most replication of original research report smaller effects. The results of this research although somewhat smaller are consistent with the Shakeel, Anderson, and Wolf (2016) study. More importantly, both studies found that although the effects were for the most part positive they were very small ranging from 0.080 effect size on reading to 0.135 effect size on math.
It is important to note these results are also similar to those found in the Yeh, S. S. (2007) research on this topic. Yeh goes beyond reporting on effect size to examine the importance of putting effect size in the context of cost-effectiveness. It becomes quite clear when one asks the question, are school vouchers a cost effective intervention designed to deliver significant change, this intervention is found wanting. Yeh in his research concludes that educators and the public will be better served by adopting a practice such as formative assessment, that has a greater effective size (0.90) and can be implemented at a much smaller cost.
(1) Bennett, M., Banerjee, H. L., Doan, L. N., Geib, T., and Burley, A. (2018). The Effect of Voucher Programs on Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis. AERA Conference New York, NY. 10.302/1302823.
(2) Shakeel, M., Anderson, K., & Wolf, P. (2016). The participant effects of private school vouchers across the globe: A meta-analytic and systematic review.
(3) Yeh, S. S. (2007). The cost-effectiveness of five policies for improving student achievement. American Journal of Evaluation, 28(4), 416-436.
July 2, 2018
Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2017-18; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred, 2016-17; and 12-Month Enrollment, 2016-17
News Summary: The purpose of this preliminary report is examine the most recent data on the cost of sending students to college in the Unities States. During the 2017–18 academic year, there were 6,642 Title IV institutions of this total, 2,902 were classified as 4-year institutions, 1,932 were 2-year institutions, and the remaining 1,808 were less-than-2-year institutions. Average tuition and required fees for full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates at 4-year institutions increased across all institutional controls except private for-profit institutions from 2015-16 to 2017–18. Public institutions reported a roughly 2 percent increase for in-state students (to approximately $8,300) and for out-of-state students (to approximately $18,700). Private nonprofit institutions reported an increase of approximately 3 percent (to about $28,000). Private for-profit institutions reported average tuition and required fees of approximately $16,200 for 2017–18. This represents a decrease of over 1 percent when compared with the inflation-adjusted figure from 2015–16. Approximately 3.3 million students received degrees or certificates at 4-year degree-granting institutions with more than 58 percent obtained a bachelor’s degree.
Citation:Ginder, S. A., Kelly-Reid, J. E., & Mann, F. B. (2018). Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2016-17; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred, 2015-16; and 12-Month Enrollment, 2015-16: First Look (Provisional Data). NCES 2017-075rev. National Center for Education Statistics.
June 26, 2018
The Impact of Reading Recovery at Scale: Results From the 4-Year i3 External Evaluation
A recent large-scale evaluation of Reading Recovery, a supplemental reading program for young struggling readers, supports previous research that found it to be effective. In a 4 year, federally funded project, almost 3,500 students in 685 schools found that generally students benefitted from the intervention. Students receiving Reading Recovery receive supplemental services in a 1:1 instructional setting for 30 minutes 5 days a week from an instructor trained in Reading Recovery. In the study reported here, students who received Reading Recovery had effect sizes of .35-.37 relative to a control group across a number of measures of reading. These represent moderate effect sizes and account for about a 1.5 month increase in skill relative to the control group. Even though the research supports the efficacy of the intervention, it also raises questions about its efficiency. The schools that participated in the study served about 5 students and the estimated cost per student has ranged from $2,000-$5,000. These data raise questions about the wisdom of spending this much money per student for growth of about a month and a half.
Citation: Sirinides, P., Gray, A., & May, H. (2018). The Impacts of Reading Recovery at Scale: Results From the 4-Year i3 External Evaluation. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 0162373718764828.
March 15, 2018
The Campbell Collaboration: Providing Better Evidence for a Better World
News Summary: This paper provides the history and summarizes the development of the Campbell Collaboration. The Campbell Collaboration is a “nonprofit organization with the mission of helping people make well-informed decisions about the effects of interventions in the social, behavioral, and educational domains. The paper looks at the organization’s efforts to build a world library of accurate, synthesized evidence to inform policy and practice and improve human well-being worldwide. The Education section of the Campbell research library produces reviews on issues in early childhood, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. Topics range from academic programs, teacher qualifications, testing, to a wide variety of school-based interventions. Campbell systematic reviews and related evidence synthesis provide unbiased summaries of bodies of empirical evidence. The Campbell Collaboration has recently implemented new changes in its practices designed to significantly increase the production, dissemination, and use of rigorous syntheses of research. Following the acquisition of new funding, The Campbell Collaboration embarked on a process of reform culminating in the appointment of a new Board of Directors and the creation of an annual members conference.
Citation: Littell, J. H., & White, H. (2018). The Campbell Collaboration: Providing better evidence for a better world. Research on Social Work Practice, 28(1), 6-12.
February 28, 2018
Digest of Education Statistics 2015 Report Released
News Summary: The Digest of Education Statistics 2015 was just released by The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This annual publication provides a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of education from prekindergarten through graduate school. Topics include: the number of schools and colleges; teachers; enrollments; graduates; educational attainment; finances; federal funds for education; employment and income of graduates; libraries; technology; and international comparisons. It has been published annually since 1962, providing over 50 years of data with which to benchmark education performance at the system level in this country.
Citation: Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., and Dillow, S.A. (2018). Digest of Education Statistics 2016 (NCES 2017-094). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
September 6, 2017
Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers
This news item offers a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. In an era in which we are bombarded with volumes of research, it becomes ever more challenging to decide which journals and publishers are reputable. This web site reviews, assesses, and provides guidelines on how to decide which are trustworthy, whether you want to submit articles, serve as an editor, or serve on an editorial board. The web site provides a list that mostly consists of open access journals, although, a few non-open access publishers whose practices match those of predatory publishers have been added to the list.
Citation: Beall, J. (2012). Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature, 489(7415), 179.
Web Site: Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers
August 8, 2017
A Meta-Analysis of Class Sizes and Ratios in Early Childhood Education Programs: Are Thresholds of Quality Associated With Greater Impacts on Cognitive, Achievement, and Socioemotional Outcomes?
This meta-analysis of early childhood education programs in the U.S. examines the impact of class size and child to teacher ratios on the cognitive, achievement, and socioemotional outcomes for children. The study found no socially significant relationship with cognitive and achievement effect size for either class size or child to teacher ratios. The only notable improvement in effect size was found when child to teacher ratios were lower than 7.5-1.
Citation: Bowne, J. B., Magnuson, K. A., Schindler, H. S., Duncan, G. J., & Yoshikawa, H. (2017). A Meta-Analysis of Class Sizes and Ratios in Early Childhood Education Programs: Are Thresholds of Quality Associated With Greater Impacts on Cognitive, Achievement, and Socioemotional Outcomes?. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 0162373716689489.
August 1, 2017
A Guide to Calculating District Expenditure-to-Performance Ratios Using Publicly Available Data
Efficient use of educational resources is a perennial challenge for school systems. Maximizing the impact of education interventions to magnify student achievement is an important goal for all school districts. This guide examines the use of expenditure-to-performance ratios as a critical indicator for school systems to help decide which interventions make sense when education dollars are at a premium. It describes how states and districts can use available data on district expenditures and student academic achievement to calculate six district-level expenditure-to-performance ratios.
Citation: Ryan, S., Lavigne, H. J., Zweig, J. S., & Buffington, P. J. (2017). A guide to calculating district expenditure-to-performance ratios using publicly available data. (REL 2017-179). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands.
July 13, 2017
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report on Department of Education Staffing
A recently released report from the GAO finds that overall staffing in the Department of Education has fallen from a high of 6,391 in 1981 to 4,077 in 2015, while contracting levels have remained relatively stable. It is important to note that the workload for Department of Education has grown as the budget for the department has increased significantly during this same period. More eliminations of personnel are expected as the Trump administration has called for a further 13.5% reduction. It is interesting to note that the entire federal workforce has experienced a 4% reduction in staffing from 1991 through 2015, while the Department of Education lost 12% of it’s personnel.
Citation: Foxx, V., Guthrie, B., Rokita, T. and Rothmam, G. (2107). Department of Education: Staffing Levels Have Generally Decreased Over Time, While Contracting Levels Have Remained Relatively Stable. US Government Accountability Office GAO-17-669R.
June 15, 2017
School Lunch Quality and Academic Performance
Providing children with nutritious school meals continues to be a topic of interest in education policy. It has been argued that a healthy diet can have a positive impact on childhood obesity as well as student achievement. However, there is little empirical evidence to support this popular intervention. A working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research offers insights to help policy makers decide whether to select this option as a way to make a difference in children’s lives. The study, a natural experiment conducted in California public schools, uses a difference-in-difference regression statistical analysis of data from a treatment group and a control group at two or more different time periods, pre-treatment and post-treatment. The study found no evidence to support a reduction in obesity, but it did discover that introducing healthy meals was associated with a 0.036 standard deviation increase in test scores. The improved student achievement, although small, makes nutritious school lunches a viable cost-effective intervention that can boost test scores. It is important to remember that this is a correlational study and thus cannot establish a cause and effect relationship between healthy eating and student achievement.
Citation: Anderson, M. L., Gallagher, J., & Ritchie, E. R. (2017). School lunch quality and academic performance (NBER Working Paper No. 23218). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.