IES supports rigorous research that can provide scientific evidence on how best to address our nation’s most pressing education needs. As part of the Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER) principles, IES-funded researchers are encouraged, and in some cases required, to conduct a cost analysis for their projects with the intended goal of supporting education agencies’ decision-making around the adoption of programs, policies, or practices.
The Cost Analysis in Practice (CAP) Project is a 3-year initiative funded by IES to support researchers and practitioners who are planning or conducting a cost analysis of educational programs and practices. This support includes the following freely available resources.
- Resources developed by the CAP Project
- Introductory resources on cost analysis including Standards and Guidelines 1.1, an infographic, a video lecture, and FAQs.
- Tools for planning your cost analysis, collecting and analyzing cost data, and reporting your results.
- A Help Desk for you to submit inquiries about conducting a cost analysis with a response from a member of the CAP Project Team within two business days.
- Other resources recommended by the CAP Project
- Background materials on cost analysis
- Guidance on carrying out a cost analysis
- Standards for the Economic Evaluation of Educational and Social Programs
- Cost analysis software
The CAP Project is also involved in longer-term collaborations with IES-funded evaluation projects to better understand their cost analysis needs. As part of this work, the CAP Project will be producing a set of three blogs to discuss practical details regarding cost studies based on its collaboration with a replication project evaluating an intervention that integrates literacy instruction into the teaching of American history. These blogs will discuss the following:
- Common cost analysis challenges that researchers encounter and recommendations to address them
- The development of a timeline resource for planning a cost study
- Data collection for a cost study
The CAP Project is interested in your feedback on any of the CAP Project resources and welcomes suggestions for additional resources to support cost analysis. If you have any feedback, please fill out a suggestion form at the bottom of the Resources web page.