Academic Return on Investment (ROI), is a valuable tool for school districts to use in evaluating the effectiveness of educational programs or interventions. Measuring ROI should be considered a crucial component to evaluating a district’s continuous school improvement efforts.
The process of academic ROI uses a disciplined method of inquiry that leverages the scientific method to determine the impact of a particular program on student growth and achievement. By using this process, school districts are able to make informed decisions about how to best allocate resources and support student growth and achievement. In this article, we will take a look at one example, and see how using the scientific method to help determine Academic Return on Investment (ROI) can be applied in a school district.
The Process of Academic ROI at a Glance
Academic ROI uses a disciplined method of inquiry that leverages the scientific method. As a quick overview, here is a brief summary of how a typical school district might measure academic ROI.
- Invest – Our district invested $1.5 million into a reading program to accelerate rates of growth for struggling readers.
- Question – Are students served by the program growing faster than they would have grown without the program?
- Evaluate – Create a personalized growth projection for each student assuming the program did not exist. Then, compare observed growth for each student with the program to projected growth without the program.
- Act – Validate program effectiveness, use results to improve the program, or consider reallocating resources to more effective programming.
Continue reading for more detail on each of the steps in this process and to learn how your school district can begin measuring academic return on investment.
Invest in Your District’s Programs
The first step is to determine the adequate level of investment to support growth in the identified area. For example, in the sample school district, they recently invested $1.5 million into a reading program designed to accelerate the rates of growth for struggling readers. This is a significant investment, and it is important that the district determine whether or not the program is achieving its intended goals. This is where the process of academic ROI comes into play.
In this case, the district invested $1.5 million into a reading program for struggling readers. This program may include a variety of components such as small group instruction, one-on-one tutoring, and technology-based resources. The district must have a clear understanding of what the program entails and what it aims to achieve. Then, the district allocated appropriate funds to support the program.
Question the Success of Investments
Once the program has been implemented, the next step is to ask a question. The question that the district is trying to answer in this case is, “How did students in the program grow compared to how they would have grown without the program?” This is a crucial question to ask as it will allow the district to determine the impact of the program on student growth and achievement.
Evaluate The Program’s Results
Since the district has determined the criteria for success, in our example of reading scores, then the district will be able to answer the question through program evaluation. One way to do this is by creating a personalized growth projection for each student assuming the program did not exist. This projection can be based on historical data, such as the student’s past performance on reading assessments, or on other factors that may impact reading growth, such as the student’s socioeconomic status or English language proficiency. Once the district has created these projections, they can then compare the observed growth for each student within the program to the projected growth without the program. This comparison will allow the district to determine the impact of the program on student growth and achievement.
It is important to note that evaluating a program’s effectiveness is not a one-time event, but it is an ongoing process. The district should regularly assess the program and make adjustments as needed. This may include revising the program’s curriculum, providing additional professional development for teachers, or purchasing new resources.
Act by Making Adjustments to your Programming
Once the district has evaluated the program, they can then act on the information they have gathered. If the program is found to be effective, the district can validate its effectiveness and use the results to improve it. This may include expanding the program to serve more students, increasing funding for the program, or providing additional resources. On the other hand, if the program is not effective, the district should consider reallocating resources to more effective programming.
Keep in mind that when reallocating resources, the district should not just focus on the immediate results of the program, but also on long-term benefits. For example, a program that may not show immediate results may still be effective in the long run, and it may not be appropriate to discontinue it.
What are the benefits of measuring ROI at a school district?
The process of academic ROI is not only beneficial for the district but also for the students, parents, and community members. By using this process, the district can ensure that they are equitably providing the best possible education for their students. Additionally, parents and community members can have confidence that their tax dollars are being used effectively.
Summary of Academic Return on Investment
The process of measuring academic ROI is a valuable tool for school districts to use in evaluating the effectiveness of educational programs. By identifying an area of need, investing in a program, asking a question, evaluating the program, and acting on the information gathered, school districts are able to make informed decisions about how to best allocate resources and support student growth and achievement.
It is important for school districts to regularly assess and evaluate programs to ensure that they are providing the best possible education for their students. By using the process of academic ROI, school districts can make data-driven decisions and ensure that they are providing effective programs for their students. It is also important for the district to communicate the results of their evaluations to the community and stakeholders, to ensure transparency and build trust with the community.
In summary, the process of academic ROI is a systematic approach to evaluating educational programs and making data-driven decisions. By using this process, school districts can ensure that they are providing effective programs for their students and using resources in the most efficient way possible. It is an ongoing process that requires regular assessment, evaluation, and communication to the community.
How Does ECRA Group Measure Academic Return on Investment for School Districts?
Built into ECRA’s Student Improvement solution is a powerful tool that provides academic return on investment calculations directly to the user. School district leaders can use this data, in conjunction with our power predictive analytic models to ensure that decisions being made are evidence-based and data driven.