ERIC Number: EJ815920
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Cost-Utility Analysis in Educational Needs Assessment
Ross, John A.
Evaluation and Program Planning, v31 n4 p356-367 Nov 2008
Educational needs assessments (hereafter NAs) are inattentive to cost considerations and are frequently dominated by elite stakeholder groups. In this article I make a case for adopting a cost-utility approach, illustrating the argument with data generated in a NA of central library services in a Canadian school district. Using survey data from eight stakeholder groups, I found that (1) NAs based on the service preferences of a single stakeholder group can be misleading; (2) service preferences can be integrated into a single set of priorities, even when there are disagreements, by using the stakeholder group as the unit of analysis and assigning weights that privilege input from knowledgeable respondents; and (3) that the ranking of service operations produced by user preferences was not significantly correlated with the ranking produced by integrating preferences with costs. Cost-utility analysis would be more helpful if the utilities represented rigorously determined benefits of the services assessed, as well as stakeholder perceptions of the value of these benefits. Cost-utility analysis in NA will not reach its potential until cost considerations are routinely included in educational program evaluations. (Contains 8 tables.)
Descriptors: Educational Needs, Program Evaluation, Needs Assessment, Library Services, School Districts, Foreign Countries, School Libraries, Educational Policy, Stakeholders, Evaluation Research, Cost Effectiveness, Evaluation Criteria
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada