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Eval Program Plann. 2009 Feb;32(1):74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2008.08.006. Epub 2008 Sep 24.

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

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1
University of Minnesota, Educational Policy and Administration, College of Education and Human Development, 330 Wulling Hall, 86 Pleasant Street, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. yehxx008@umn.edu

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.

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