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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Cost Accounting for Student-Level Resources

William Hartman, Pennsylvania State University
Gary Shaffer, Pennsylvania State University

Abstract: This project is developing a practical managerial accounting system to track resources in ways that will enable administrators to allocate their resources under their control in effective ways to improve student outcomes. This will be accomplished by linking together three separate data collection and reporting systems available in school information systems-expenditures, staffing, and students-in a seamless and cost effective manner.

The key components are:

  • A school building-based approach that organizes and reports expenditure data by grade or major subject, instructional and support programs and by types of students.
  • Linkages with staffing allocations and student data on performance.
  • Separate, but parallel, models for elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • Productivity analyses including comparisons with schools in the same or other districts.
  • Data inputs come from existing school, district, and state information systems.
  • A system that is useful to school administrators, as well as researchers and policymakers.

In the first year of the project, the data infrastructure and model have been fully articulated and procedures developed to implement the system. This initial system will be submitted to a full year of field-testing in the second year with three pilot-test school districts, and in the third year a broader implementation with additional school districts in other states will be conducted. The final model will be one that can be adopted by states and/or school districts or employed by the federal government on a sample basis to collect relevant data for improved resource allocation aimed at boosting student outcomes.