Shifting the bell curve: The benefits and costs of raising student achievement

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Abstract

Benefit-cost analysis was conducted to estimate the increase in earnings, increased tax revenues, value of less crime, and reductions in welfare costs attributable to nationwide implementation of rapid assessment, a promising intervention for raising student achievement in math and reading. Results suggest that social benefits would exceed total social costs by a ratio of 28. Fiscal benefits to the federal government would exceed costs to the federal treasury by a ratio of 93. Social benefits would exceed costs to each state treasury by a ratio no lower than 286, and fiscal benefits would exceed costs to each state treasury by a ratio no lower than 5, for all but two state treasuries. Sensitivity analyses suggest that the findings are robust to a 5-fold change in the underlying parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

Keywords

  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Economics of education
  • Educational finance
  • Educational productivity
  • Evaluation
  • Mathematics
  • Reading

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