Using Resource and Cost Considerations to Support Educational Evaluation: Six Domains
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
Cost, cost-effectiveness, and benefit-cost analysis are methods used by economists to evaluate public policies. Essentially, these methods rely on impact evaluations, that is, research studies of efficacy and effectiveness. However, in most research in education, these cost and impact evaluations are performed separately. This separation creates methodological deficiencies and undermines the contribution of educational research to decision making. In this article, we identify key domains of educational research evaluations that, we believe, would be enhanced if resource and cost analyses were integrated more directly. These domains relate to outcome specification, treatment contrast, implementation fidelity, the role of mediators, power of the test, and meta-analysis. For each domain, we provide a case study example of how these cost analyses can complement and augment current research practices in educational evaluation. More interaction between economists and education researchers would be beneficial for both groups.