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IES Grant

Title: Training in Application of Economic Evaluation for State and Local Education Policy Employees
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Levin, Henry Awardee: Teachers College, Columbia University
Program: Unsolicited and Other Awards      [Program Details]
Award Period: 1 year (10/01/17 09/30/18) Award Amount: $99,940
Type: Training Award Number: R305U180001

Co-Principal Investigator: Brooks Bowden (North Carolina State University)

The purpose of this program is to meet a significant and growing need for educational professionals to apply economic criteria in decision-making. Cuts to education budgets often require education professionals to make decisions that reflect resource scarcity. Similarly, changes in legislation sometimes compel education professionals to make decisions that can be justified using economic criteria. Very few education professionals, however, have received training that explicitly addresses resource scarcity or that adopts an economic approach to decision making.

The research team will conduct training that will include 3 days of direct instruction plus pre- and post-training activities. The instruction is adapted from what was taught in the previous training grant on cost analysis (R305B140003) to emphasize training in applied education settings, not education research. The trainees are education professionals who are expected to make significant policy decisions regarding how resources will be allocated within and across schools and districts, particularly personnel whose role is to respond to the new ESSA requirements.

The pre-training instruction will include review of the new textbook Evaluations for Education: Cost-Effectiveness and Benefit-Cost Analysis and other readings. For the in-person training, researchers will split activities between theory and practice. In the mornings, instructors will cover a variety of topics directly relevant to resource allocation and decision making. In the afternoons, the trainees will work on exercises in small groups, develop case studies, and work in small discussion groups for personalized training support. Case studies will draw from extensive experience among the instructional team in working with state and local decision-makers and in conducting economic evaluation. The research team will encourage participants to reach out to the instructors after the 3-day training with follow-up questions and to keep the training team informed of their progress. All information and materials for the course will become available on the CBSE methods training website, along with links to the larger CBCSE website and access to the CostOut tool.