IES Blog

Institute of Education Sciences

Bringing Ourselves to Education Research to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of blogs showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month we interviewed Dr. June Ahn, associate professor of learning sciences and research-practice partnerships at the UC Irvine School Of Education and PI of the IES-funded Career Pathways for Research in Learning and Education, Analytics and Data Science training program. Here’s what he shared with us on how his background and experiences shaped his career and how his work addresses the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education.  

How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

I am a child of immigrant parents who came to the United States from South Korea. Neither of my parents graduated from higher education but were able to find stable, working-class jobs as postal workers in Rhode Island. These details very much shape the experiences I’ve had and how I think about my work. For example, growing up in an extremely small Korean-American community, not many people outside of the community understood my background and family history. I had to learn to navigate many different social groups with diverse ethnic and cultural histories. As a child of immigrants, I very much understood how education was seen as an important mechanism for social and economic mobility. At the same time, I was keenly aware of how my experiences and realities were often absent or misrepresented in my schooling, the curriculum, and experiences with educators. 

These facets of my history shape the kind of scholarship that I pursue, where I strive to—

  • Design new learning environments for STEM education that turn an empathetic eye towards fostering rich experiences for minoritized youth, for example, by linking science learning with writing in science fiction clubs, carefully designing game experiences to expose diverse learners to science, using social media tools to show how science is fused into everyday lives and selves, and creating STEM learning environments built into actual city and neighbor spaces so that young people and their families can see how science and play can be joined together
  • Develop research-practice partnerships with educator and community partners to co-create solutions that are relevant to their needs, for example, to foreground an understanding of race, our histories, and racial justice as the focus of education improvement, as well as to help educators better support foster and homeless students who experience hardships as they traverse K-12 education systems
  • Create experiences for minoritized students at UC Irvine through an IES Pathways Training Grant to learn about educational data science and analytics and build their identities and skills while preparing for future graduate study

At the heart of this scholarship is my interest in building learning experiences that support students from diverse racial identities and partnering with communities while centering issues of race in how we develop solutions.

In your area of research, what do you see as the greatest research needs or recommendations to address diversity and equity and improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

I think researchers need to realize that we are products of our own racialized histories, meaning that we bring our unique perspectives and blind spots to how we frame scholarship. The research questions we devise, what we decide is worthy to study, and our research design choices all come from our histories and ways we have been conditioned to understand the world and other people. Knowing this, I firmly believe that we need to build capacity for education researchers to understand how to be more empathetic in our approaches, to learn how to better partner with communities—not just inform them of our findings—to make research more relevant to local stakeholders, and finally to learn ways to step back and let others in the community have their voices centered in the research process. These skills and dispositions do not mean that we abandon what we know about how to do research or science. Instead, they give researchers tools to better understand how to value our own diverse histories and bring them into our research projects.

Beyond these methodological needs, I think that future research to address diversity and equity must continually go back to the lived experiences of the youth and families we are trying to reach. Even if research might illuminate trends and inequity, these findings mean little—and tell us little about what to do—unless we also couple our findings with an understanding of how our partners experience these inequities or lack of inclusion. 

How can the broader education research community better support the careers and scholarship of researchers from underrepresented groups?

There are a few inflection points that I think are important to continually support the careers of researchers from minoritized groups. First, representation matters. Universities and organizations need to strongly encourage their faculty or workforce to continue to seek out and hire folks from underrepresented groups. This task should never end, or organizations can quickly move backward. Funding decisions for which scholars and what research endeavors are supported also need to continually ensure that diverse scholars can build their careers, and that innovative ideas begin to permeate through academic communities.

However, representation is not enough. Deliberate attempts to change workplace culture is vital to supporting the career growth of scholars. In my own life experience, I’ve often felt unsupported because the cultural norms, the behaviors that colleagues and supervisors enact, and the ways that a “system” continues to position someone as not welcome, help push individuals out. It is easy to spot egregious, clearly racist, situations. However, the most damaging experiences are usually enacted by well-meaning individuals who don’t understand how to be self-reflective about their blind spots and take responsibility for how their ways of working may hurt scholars from minoritized groups. This type of change cannot be made with a DEI workshop or other typical strategies that organizations take. Change can only happen if individuals can be truly self-reflexive, take personal responsibility for their own actions, and actively work from the perspective of minoritized scholars. This is slow work requiring multiple hard conversations and many years of trust-building.

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups that are pursuing a career in education research?

I am so excited about the next generation of scholars in education research. My advice is threefold.

  • Trust that your past histories, experiences, and perspectives give you a unique insight into issues of education, teaching, and learning. The fun challenge is to continually seek out what makes your perspective unique and to confidently communicate this uniqueness to your academic communities.
  • Seek out senior mentors who both support your vision and act in ways that position you for more impact and recognition. Early in my career, I had senior mentors who were co-PIs on grant-funded projects with me. This allowed me to further my research vision and gain entryway into important avenues of resources for scholarship. These acts of strategic mentorship propelled my career and put me in position to pay it forward to the next generation of scholars.
  • Cultivate supporters outside of your home research institution and build long-term trust in relationships by continually doing good work with integrity and kindness. This type of work is slow, taking years to cultivate, and requires a lot of patience and faith that doing the right thing will pay off in the long run. However, building a career on good research, trusting relationships, and kindness builds a strong foundation from which scholars from minoritized groups can jump off from while withstanding many challenges one might face.

Produced by Katina Stapleton (Katina.Stapleton@ed.gov), co-Chair of the IES Diversity and Inclusion Council and training program officer for the National Center for Education Research.

 

Catalyzing Data Science Education in K-12: Recommendations from a Panel of Experts

Several efforts around the country are re-examining the skills students need to be prepared for the 21st century. Frontier digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and blockchain carry the potential—and in some cases have already begun—to radically transform the economy and the workplace. Global engagement and national competitiveness will likely rely upon the skills, deep understanding, and leadership in these areas.

These technologies run on a new type of fuel: data, and very large amounts of it. The “big data” revolution has already changed the way modern businesses, government, and research is conducted, generating new information and shaping critical decisions at all levels. The volume and complexity of modern data has evolved to such a degree that an entire field—data science—has emerged to meet the needs of these new technologies and the stakeholders employing them, drawing upon an inter-disciplinary intersection of statistics, computer science, and domain knowledge. Data science professionals work in a variety of industries, and data now run many of the systems we interact with in our daily life—whether smart voice assistants on our phone, social media platforms in our personal and civic lives, or Internet of Things infrastructure in our built environment.

Students in grades K-12 also interact with these systems. Despite the vast amount of data that students are informally exposed to, there are currently limited formal learning opportunities for students to learn how to understand, assess, and work with the data that they encounter in a variety of contexts. Data science education in K-12 is not widespread, suggesting that our education system has not invested in building capacity around these new and important skill sets. A review of the NCES 2019 NAEP High School Transcript Study (HSTS) data revealed that only 0.07% of high school graduates took a data science course, and 0.04% of high school graduates took an applied or interdisciplinary data science course in health informatics, business, energy, or other field. Critically, education research informing the design, implementation, and teaching of these programs is similarly limited.

To develop a better understanding of the state of data science education research, on October 26, 2021, NCER convened a Technical Working Group (TWG) panel to provide recommendations to NCER on 1) the goals for K-12 data science education research, 2) how to improve K-12 data science education practice, 3) how to ensure access to and equity in data science education, and 4) what is needed to build an evidence base and research capacity for the new field. The five key recommendations from the panel are summarized in a new report.  

  • Recommendation 1. Articulate the Developmental Pathway—Panelists recommended more research to better articulate K-12 learning pathways for students.
  • Recommendation 2: Assess and Improve Data Science Software—Panelists suggested additional research to assess which data analysis software tools (tinker-based tools, spreadsheets, professional software, or other tools) should be incorporated into instruction and when, in order to be developmentally appropriate and accessible to all learners.
  • Recommendation 3: Build Tools for Measurement and Assessment—Panelists advocated for additional research to develop classroom assessment tools to support teachers and to track student success and progress, and to ensure students may earn transferable credit for their work from K-12 to postsecondary education.
  • Recommendation 4: Integrate Equity into Schooling and Systems—Panelists emphasized the importance of equity in opportunities and access to high quality data science education for all learners. Data science education research should be conducted with an equity lens that critically examines what is researched and for whom the research benefits.
  • Recommendation 5: Improve Implementation—Panelists highlighted several systematic barriers to successfully implementing and scaling data science education policies and practices, including insufficient resources, lack of teacher training, and misalignment in required coursework and credentials between K-12, postsecondary education, and industry. The panel called for research to evaluate different implementation approaches to reduce these barriers and increase the scalability of data science education policies and practices. 

Given the limited evidence base informing data science education at the K-12 level, panelists expressed a sense of urgency for additional research, and for expanded research efforts to quickly build an evidence base to evaluate the promise of, practices for, and best ways to impart data science education. These transformations may carry significant implications for career and technical skills, online social and civic engagement, and global citizenship in the digital sphere.   

Importantly, this report highlights more research is still needed—and soon. IES looks forward to the field’s ideas for research projects that address what works, for whom, and under which conditions within data science education and will continue to engage the education research community to draw attention to critical research gaps in this area.


Written by Zarek Drozda, 2021-2022 FAS Data Science Education Impact Fellow.

 

Leveraging Diversity of Academic Disciplines and Cultural Experiences to Advance Education Research

This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of blogs showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked researcher Mingyu Feng, a senior research associate at WestED, to discuss her career journey. Dr. Feng serves as principal investigator of the IES-funded ASSISTments and MathSpring efficacy studies, which examine the effects of intelligent tutoring systems, data-driven instruction, and formative assessment on student learning outcomes.

How did you become interested in a career in education research? How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

When I first came from China to the United States to pursue a PhD in computer science, I wasn’t thinking of having a career in education research. My goal was to become a computer scientist who plays with algorithms and codes every day. Then, I was surprised to learn how many U.S. students trailed their peers academically in a highly developed country like America. The 2002 NAEP data indicated that only 30% of 8th graders were at or above the proficient level in reading or math. My first thought when I saw that statistic was, “There must be a way to help these students.”

I pursued a PhD in intelligent tutoring systems at Worcester Polytechnic Institute out of a desire to leverage technology to boost student learning. An intelligent tutoring system (ITS) is a computer system that aims to automatically provide immediate and customized instruction, feedback, or intervention to learners. Building ITSs requires a highly interdisciplinary field, where computer technology intersects with artificial intelligence, data mining, learning sciences, cognitive sciences, and education. As a graduate student, I developed systems and analyzed student learning data. I built upon my prior math knowledge from studying engineering and taught myself statistical modeling and learned about experimental design methods. I was also fortunate to be able to visit classrooms and work directly with educators and students to understand how critical it is for a student to receive needed support and for a computer system to be effectively integrated into an educator’s classroom routine. This experience inspired me to pursue a career in applied education research. Since then, my research career has focused on the development and research of education technologies and conducting rigorous evaluations of their impact on learning or practices in authentic education settings.

What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered, and how did you overcome the challenge?

As a first-generation immigrant, I haven’t directly experienced the U.S. K-12 and college education system and was initially less familiar with U.S. policies and practices. I asked a lot of “naïve” questions—What’s the difference between a public school and a charter school? How does a district decide the adoption of a supplemental program or a core curriculum? Does 5th grade belong to elementary school or middle school? Does a teacher or a school have discretion regarding instructional practices? It was a long and steep learning curve, but I found connecting directly with students, educators, administrators, and policymakers to be beneficial for learning about the education system. Listening to their needs, observing classrooms, and discussing research and findings in a meaningful way with practitioners provided me with the context and inspiration I needed as a researcher. When I saw an exhausted teacher running around to put out fires in the classroom, or a frustrated student staring at the computer screen, I knew there was still a long way for us edtech developers and researchers to go.

I also recognized that my cultural background and resulting perspective on education could be both a challenge and an asset. In many East and Southeast Asian cultures, Confucian ideals such as respect for elders, deferred gratification, and discipline are strong influences. Traditionally, Asian parents teach their children to value educational achievement, respect authority, feel responsibility for relatives, and show self-control. These perspectives were infused in my upbringing and influenced my approach to understanding education in the United States where diverse cultures thrive. I worked to gain perspective-taking skills to understand situations from other positions, to consider other beliefs, experiences, and viewpoints.

How can the broader education research community better support the careers and scholarship of researchers from underrepresented groups?

Early exposure to research and opportunities can be quite helpful. My doctoral training expanded my view of career options beyond academia and helped me see the value of applied research and the impact research can have on practices.

Recently, IES has advocated specifically for inclusion of emerging scholars from underrepresented groups in RFAs and during the reviewing process. That’s a great way to support scholars from these groups. Just for fun, I skimmed the list of 1,500 PIs of IES funded grants and found about 50 first or last names resembling Asian names. With acknowledgement of this less-than-rigorous approach, this very rough estimate of 3-4% suggests there are not a whole lot of IES PIs with Asian heritage. Therefore, I really appreciate the increased attention and encouragement IES has given to addressing underrepresentation in the education research community and would love to meet more scholars like me at the PI meetings.

In addition, I’d encourage project directors to think more creatively when considering institutional partnerships, building a staff team, or forming an advisory board. By including collaborators or advisors from underrepresented groups, the team benefits from the breadth of talent, perspectives, and skills that arise from diversity.

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups that are pursuing a career in education research?

My first piece of advice is to be confident and brave. Believe in yourself and in the value you bring to the table. Sometimes, this means stretching outside your comfort zone or persevering towards a goal you are passionate about. In Chinese culture, modesty is viewed as a virtue. I’ve always been told “modesty helps one go forward” and “silence is golden.” Yet, I’d encourage emerging scholars from minoritized groups to put their best selves forward and display their pride. 

My second piece of advice is to find someone you trust, a mentor or an advisor, who will show you how to navigate the field and provide guidance for your academic and career advancement. A great mentor can show you your strengths and weaknesses, encourage and advocate for you, and support your growth by creating opportunities and connecting you with collaborators. For someone from underrepresented groups, I found it is best to have someone who can speak up for you when you are not present in the room.


Mingyu Feng is a senior research associate with WestEd’s Learning and Technology team. She leads large-scale grants focused on leveraging education technologies to transform science and mathematics instruction to improve student learning.

Produced by Wai Chow (Wai-Ying.Chow@ed.gov), program officer for the Effective Instruction grant program within the National Center for Education Research.

Asian Voices in Education Research: Perspectives from Predoctoral Fellows Na Lor and Helen Lee

The IES Predoctoral Training Programs prepare doctoral students to conduct high-quality education research that advances knowledge within the field of education sciences and addresses issues important to education policymakers and practitioners. In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked two predoctoral scholars who are embarking on their careers as education researchers to share their career journeys, perspectives on diversity and equity in education research, and advice for emerging scholars from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing careers in education research. Here is what they shared with us.

 

Na Lor (University of Wisconsin-Madison) is currently a PhD candidate in educational leadership and policy analysis where she is studying inequity in higher education from a cultural perspective.

How did you become interested in a career in education research? How have your background experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

I view education institutions as important sites of knowledge transmission with infinite potential for addressing inequity. In addition, my background as a Hmong refugee and a first-generation scholar from a low-income family informs my scholarship and career interests. My positive and negative experiences growing up in predominantly White spaces also shape the way in which I see the world. Meanwhile, my time spent living abroad and working in the non-profit sector further influence my ideals of improving the human condition. With my training through IES, I look forward to conducting education research with a focus on higher education in collaboration with local schools and colleges to better serve students and families from underserved communities.  

In your area of research, what do you see as the most critical areas of need to address diversity and equity and improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

I see ethnic studies, culturally sustaining pedagogies, and experiential learning in postsecondary education as core areas in need of improvement to provide relevant education for an ever-diverse student body. Likewise, I see community college transfer pathways as crucial for addressing and advancing equity. 

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups who are pursuing a career in education research?

Chase your burning questions relentlessly and continuously strengthen your methodological toolkit. Embrace who you are and rely on your lived experience and ways of knowing as fundamental assets that contribute to knowledge formation and the research process. 

 

Helen Lee (University of Chicago) is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Human Development where she is studying the impact of racial dialogue and ethnic community engagement on the identity and agency development of Asian American youth.

How did you become interested in a career in education research? How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

I first considered a career in education research while completing my Master’s in educational leadership and policy at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. I had entered my program in need of a break after working as a classroom teacher, organizer, and community educator in Detroit for five years. During my program, I had the opportunity to reflect on and contextualize my experiences in and around public education. It was also during my program that I first came across scholarship that aligned to my values and spoke to my experiences as a teacher in under-resourced communities and as a first-generation college graduate.

Taking classes with Dr. Carla O’Connor and Dr. Alford Young, working with Dr. Camille Wilson, and engaging with scholarship that counters deficit notions of people of color was a critical turning point for me. The work of these scholars motivated me to pursue a path in education research. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to meet other scholars who conduct community-based and action-oriented research in service of social justice movements. These interactions, along with the opportunities to collaborate with and learn from youth and educators over the years, has sustained my interest in education research and strengthened my commitment to conducting research that promotes more equitable educational policies and practice.

In your area of research, what do you see as the most critical areas of need to address diversity and equity and improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

My current research examines the racial socialization experiences of Asian American youth in relation to their sociopolitical development. This work is motivated by my own experiences as an Asian American, my work with Chinese and Asian American-serving community organizations, and a recognition that Asian American communities are often overlooked in conversations about racism due to pervasive stereotypes.

Education research must be better attuned to the history and current manifestations of racism. That is, research should not only consider the consequences of systemic racism on the educational experiences and outcomes of marginalized communities but also challenge and change these conditions. I believe there is a critical need for scholarship that reimagines and transforms the education system into a more just and humanizing one.

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups who are pursuing a career in education research?

I would provide the following advice:

  • Clarify what your purpose isthe reason why you are engaged in this work. This will help guide the opportunities you pursue or pass on and connect you to the people who can support your development toward these goals. Your purpose will also serve as a beacon to guide you in times of uncertainty.
  • Seek out mentorship from scholars whose work inspires your own. Mentorship may come from other students as well as from those outside of academia. It may stem from collaborations in which you participate or simply through one-time interactions.
  • Be attuned to your strengths and your areas of growth and nurture both accordingly. In retrospect, I could have done a better job of recognizing my own assets and engaging in diverse writing opportunities to strengthen my ability to communicate research across audiences.
  • Continuously put your ideas and research in conversation with the ideas and research of others. This enables growth in important ways—it can open you up to new perspectives and questions as well as strengthen your inquiry and understanding of your findings.
  • Engage in exercises that nurture your creativity and imagination and participate in spaces that sustain your passion for education research. A more just and humanizing education system requires us to think beyond our current realities and to engage in long-term efforts.      

This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of blogs showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. For Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month blog series, we are focusing on AAPI researchers and fellows, as well as researchers that focus on the education of AAPI students.

Produced by Katina Stapleton (Katina.Stapleton@ed.gov), co-Chair of the IES Diversity and Inclusion Council and training program officer for the National Center for Education Research.

Using Cost Analysis to Inform Replicating or Scaling Education Interventions

A key challenge when conducting cost analysis as part of an efficacy study is producing information that can be useful for addressing questions related to replicability or scale. When the study is a follow up conducted many years after the implementation, the need to collect data retrospectively introduces additional complexities. As part of a recent follow-up efficacy study, Maya Escueta and Tyler Watts of Teachers College, Columbia University worked with the IES-funded Cost Analysis in Practice (CAP) project team to plan a cost analysis that would meet these challenges. This guest blog describes their process and lessons learned and provides resources for other researchers.

What was the intervention for which you estimated costs retrospectively?

We estimated the costs of a pre-kindergarten intervention, the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP), which was implemented in nine Head Start Centers in Chicago, Illinois for two cohorts of students in 2004-5 and 2005-6. CSRP was an early childhood intervention that targeted child self-regulation by attempting to overhaul teacher approaches to behavioral management. The intervention placed licensed mental health clinicians in classrooms, and these clinicians worked closely with teachers to reduce stress and improve the classroom climate. CSRP showed signs of initial efficacy on measures of preschool behavioral and cognitive outcomes, but more recent results from the follow-up study showed mainly null effects for the participants in late adolescence.

The IES research centers require a cost study for efficacy projects, so we faced the distinct challenge of conducting a cost analysis for an intervention nearly 20 years after it was implemented. Our goal was to render the cost estimates useful for education decision-makers today to help them consider whether to replicate or scale such an intervention in their own context.

What did you learn during this process?

When enumerating costs and considering how to implement an intervention in another context or at scale, we learned four distinct lessons.

1. Consider how best to scope the analysis to render the findings both credible and relevant given data limitations.

In our case, because we were conducting the analysis 20 years after the intervention was originally implemented, the limited availability of reliable data—a common challenge in retrospective cost analysis—posed two challenges. We had to consider the data we could reasonably obtain and what that would mean for the type of analysis we could credibly conduct. First, because no comprehensive cost analysis was conducted at the time of the intervention’s original implementation (to our knowledge), we could not accurately collect costs on the counterfactual condition. Second, we also lacked reliable measures of key outcomes over time, such as grade retention or special education placement that would be required for calculating a complete cost-benefit analysis. This meant we were limited in both the costs and the effects we could reliably estimate. Due to these data limitations, we could only credibly conduct a cost analysis, rather than a cost-effectiveness analysis or cost-benefit analysis, which generally produce more useful evidence to aid in decisions about replication or scale.

Because of this limitation, and to provide useful information for decision-makers who are considering implementing similar interventions in their current contexts, we decided to develop a likely present-day implementation scenario informed by the historical information we collected from the original implementation. We’ll expand on how we did this and the decisions we made in the following lessons.

2. Consider how to choose prices to improve comparability and to account for availability of ingredients at scale.

We used national average prices for all ingredients in this cost analysis to make the results more comparable to other cost analyses of similar interventions that also use national average prices. This involved some careful thought about how to price ingredients that were unique to the time or context of the original implementation, specific to the intervention, or in low supply. For example, when identifying prices for personnel, we either used current prices (national average salaries plus fringe benefits) for personnel with equivalent professional experience, or we inflation-adjusted the original consulting fees charged by personnel in highly specialized roles. This approach assumes that personnel who are qualified to serve in specialized roles are available on a wider scale, which may not always be the case.

In the original implementation of CSRP, spaces were rented for teacher behavior management workshops, stress reduction workshops, and initial training of the mental health clinicians. For our cost analysis, we assumed that using available school facilities were more likely and tenable when implementing CSRP at large scale. Instead of using rental prices, we valued the physical space needed to implement CSRP by using amortized construction costs of school facilities (for example, cafeteria/gym/classroom). We obtained these from the CAP Project’s Cost of Facilities Calculator.

3. Consider how to account for ingredients that may not be possible to scale.

Some resources are simply not available in similar quality at large scale. For example, the Principal Investigator (PI) for the original evaluation oversaw the implementation of the intervention, was highly invested in the fidelity of implementation, was willing to dedicate significant time, and created a culture that was supportive of the pre-K instructors to encourage buy-in for the intervention. In such cases, it is worth considering what her equivalent role would be in a non-research setting and how scalable this scenario would be. A potential proxy for the PI in this case may be a school principal or leader, but how much time could this person reasonably dedicate, and how similar would their skillset be?  

4. Consider how implementation might work in institutional contexts required for scale.

Institutional settings might necessarily change when taking an intervention to scale. In larger-scale settings, there may be other ways of implementing the intervention that might change the quantities of personnel and other resources required. For example, a pre-K intervention such as CSRP at larger scale may need to be implemented in various types of pre-K sites, such as public schools or community-based centers in addition to Head Start centers. In such cases, the student/teacher ratio may vary across different institutional contexts, which has implications for the per-student cost. If delivered in a manner where the student/ teacher ratio is higher than in the original implementation, the intervention may be less costly, but may also be less impactful. This highlights the importance of the institutional setting in which implementation is occurring, and how this might affect the use and costs of resources.

How can other researchers get assistance in conducting a cost analysis?

In conducting this analysis, we found the following CAP Project tools to be especially helpful (found on the CAP Resources page and the CAP Project homepage):

  • The Cost of Facilities Calculator: A tool that helps estimate the cost of physical spaces (facilities).
  • Cost Analysis Templates: Semi-automated Excel templates that support cost analysis calculations.
  • CAP Project Help Desk: Real-time guidance from a member of the CAP Project team. You will receive help in troubleshooting challenging issues with experts who can share specific resources. Submit a help desk request by visiting this page.

Maya Escueta is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University where she researches the effects of poverty alleviation policies and parenting interventions on the early childhood home environment.

Tyler Watts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research focuses on the connections between early childhood education and long-term outcomes.

For questions about the CSRP project, please contact the NCER program officer, Corinne.Alfeld@ed.gov. For questions about the CAP project, contact Allen.Ruby@ed.gov.