ERIC Number: ED447234
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Aug
Education for Disadvantaged Children: Research Purpose and Design Features Affect Conclusions Drawn from Key Studies. Report to Congressional Requesters.
Shaul, Marnie S.
To inform reauthorizations of Title I, the federal government's largest program for elementary and secondary education, the Congress has required the Department of Education to conduct national assessments of Title I. Two of these studies have gathered Title I data over several years: the Prospects study, completed in 1997; and the ongoing Longitudinal Evaluation of School Change and Performance (LESCP), which is due to be completed in 2001. Congress asked the General Accounting Office to compare these two studies and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Documents produced in each study and interviews with project staff and other experts were used to compare the two studies. There was a consensus that the purpose of the Prospects study was to assess the effectiveness of Title I, but there was less agreement about the precise purpose of the LESCP. This lack of agreement about purpose made it hard to predict the degree to which the LESCP report will meet the needs of Congress, other policymakers, and educators. The two studies used similar processes for contracting out data collection and analysis, obtaining comments from review panels, and issuing results. For both studies, major design features influenced the study's ability to address its overall design. The large sample for the Prospects study supported fairly strong conclusions about the effectiveness of Title I. The depth of focus provided by the longitudinal design of the LESCP is likely to be a key strength, but the study uses a smaller, nonrepresentative sample, a design limitation that may limit the usefulness of results. Both studies have provided valuable information, but no single study can fulfill the diverse information needs of the Congress, the Department of Education, all of the states, and educators. One appendix contains a chart comparing the two studies, and the other contains comments from the Department of Education. (SLD)
Descriptors: Compensatory Education, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Aid, Federal Legislation, Federal Programs, Longitudinal Studies, Research Design, Research Methodology
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013. Tel: 202-512-6000; Fax: 202-512-6061; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.gao.gov.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Health, Education, and Human Services Div.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I