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ERIC Number: EJ751793
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0098-9495
Evaluating the Reliability, Validity, and Usefulness of Education Cost Studies
Baker, Bruce D.
Journal of Education Finance, v32 n2 p170-201 Fall 2006
Recent studies that purport to estimate the costs of constitutionally adequate education have been described as either a "gold standard" that should guide legislative school finance policy design and judicial evaluation, or as pure "alchemy." Methods for estimating the cost of constitutionally adequate education can be roughly divided into two groups: studies that identify the inputs needed to provide adequate service delivery models, and studies that attempt to estimate statistically the relationship between existing expenditures and existing outcomes. This article begins with a descriptive overview of existing cost studies, including summaries of studies previously reviewed by Lori Taylor, Bruce Baker, and Arnold Vedlitz in a policy paper for the Texas legislature. This article expands on the original Taylor, Baker, and Vedlitz analysis by attempting first to compare base cost estimates across methods and states to determine whether states are consistently identified as higher- or lower-cost states, controlling for regional variations in competitive wages. Next, using district-level cost and need estimates, the author evaluates the consistency, via correlation analysis, of district-level cost and need estimates across methods within states; the consistency, via regression analysis, of district-level cost and need estimates and district-level poverty rates (among scale-efficient districts); and the relationship, via correlation analysis, between district-level cost deficits (differences between estimated costs and actual current operating expenditures) and student outcomes. This final test serves as a cursory evaluation of the validity of estimates assumed to represent the cost of achieving specific educational outcomes. (Contains 5 figures, 6 tables and 55 footnotes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas