Educational Productivity2023-07-20T22:42:07+00:00

Educational Productivity

We help education leaders understand the implications of current and alternative ways of distributing dollars and how to use every dollar to maximize benefits for students.

A more productive education system is both more financially sustainable and yields better student outcomes. Emerging financial data will make it easier to link outcomes with spending, surfacing schools that are most able to leverage their money to maximize student outcomes. And it will allow all schools (and systems) to benchmark progress toward improved productivity.

The productivity analysis shown below plots per-pupil spending and student outcomes by school. These sorts of analyses can help system leaders discover innovative practices, benchmark districts and schools, and manage for continuous improvement. Explore scatterplots showing spending vs. outcomes by school for districts in your state.

Tennessee FY20-21 Expenditures vs. Outcomes Scatterplot

Relevant Resources

Public Education Missed the Data Revolution. It’s Time to Catch Up

Data-free schooling means the system can’t learn as it goes and improve on what it does. It means students aren’t getting the full value from the nation’s investment in public schooling, write Marguerite Roza and Chad Aldeman. What can be done to chip away at this data desert?

The Big Bet on Adding Staff to Improve Schools Is Breaking the Bank

By going all-in on staffing, we’ve crowded out other potential investments­ that can positively impact student learning. In this paper, Marguerite Roza writes that competing strategies should be viewed through the lens of which can do the most for students with the limited dollars at hand.

The “Would You Rather?” Test

Education spending always involves choices, and smart choices require understanding value for the dollar. This paper uses the "would you rather" exercise to explore tradeoffs in school spending and think through the value of various cost-equivalent investments.

Equipping School Leaders to Spend Wisely

In this article in the National Association of State Boards of Education journal, The Standard, Marguerite Roza writes that financial transparency presents state boards of education with a timely opportunity to turn the tide on local leader training.

Financial Transparency Reporting Requirement: Where to start

In this brief we describe our work with 22 state education agencies to identify data readiness to meet the financial transparency reporting requirement under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and outline the inventory processes so other states can identify their own next steps to meet the requirement.

With New Data, School Finance Is Coming Out of the Dark Ages

In this blog and podcast, Marguerite Roza explains how a sleeper provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will serve up a motherlode of new school-level financial data, offering an unprecedented opportunity to be better equipped to tackle some of education’s most pressing issues.

Productivity Improvements Paper Series

These five Rapid Response briefs model the costs of productivity improvements in K-12 education, including changes in staffing ratios, the impact of late-career teacher pay raises on pension debt, and paying the best teachers more to teach more students.

New Era of School Finance

In 2016 we convened leading authorities to discuss the complexities of education finance in light of the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Watch Marguerite Roza’s research presentation, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s keynote, and an expert panel discussion of the shifting roles in education finance decisions.

Are public universities neglecting in-state students?

Marguerite Roza responds to an online “Room for Debate” conversation hosted by the New York Times, arguing that chasing after nonresident students threatens the very nature of public universities as institutions that serve the state.

The Productivity of Rural Schools

Remote rural districts are often more expensive and yield lower student outcomes than urban and suburban districts. Yet some rural districts generate higher-than-expected learning results without proportionately higher spending. Based on interviews with leaders in 30 rural remote districts, Marguerite Roza identifies six factors that make some districts “productivity superstars."

Advancing System Productivity Webinar Series

Edunomics Lab, in partnership with Council of Chief State School Officers and the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center, convened a Community of Practice to support a group of leaders in all states interested in developing a state-specific framework and strategy set related to the SEA’s role in increasing productivity. This series of five webinars is designed to help Regional Comprehensive Centers support state education agency (SEA) leaders as they explore how they can better support districts and schools to operate in a more productive way.

Meeting the ESSA Financial Transparency Reporting Requirement

On February 9, 2017 nearly 100 state and district leaders representing 36 states met in Washington, D.C. to explore the opportunities and work ahead to meet the financial transparency reporting requirement in ESSA.  Available presentations are linked.

Promoting Productivity: Lessons from Rural Schools

In this essay addresses the assumption that rural districts are less productive than their urban or suburban peers by discussing rural districts can “beat the odds” by increasing student results without increasing per-pupil expenditures.

Title I: Time to Get It Right

In this brief on the landmark federal law’s 50th anniversary, we offer five key principles to help policymakers revise Title I so that it fulfills its promise of augmenting funding for poor students.

The Real Deal on K-12 Staffing

This analysis finds that staffing ratios across K-12 education have risen precipitously over several decades and, despite the impact of the Great Recession, remain at 2004 levels. A state-by-state comparison reveals large disparities across states.

Building SEA Productivity

In this presentation state education chiefs heard about a basic framework for leading the productivity challenge that includes building a productivity data infrastructure, prioritizing flexibility, aligning funds with students, incentivizing innovation, and leading the change.

A State Information System to Support Improvements in Productivity

In this paper, we discuss how states can (and why they should) track and share school-level outcomes relative to school-level spending in their online information systems. Some schools are far more productive than others—getting better student results for less money—yet states are not yet routinely identifying such schools.

Webinar: Training Principals for Budgeting at the School Level

In this webinar and presentation, we share seven key steps for principals to customize their use of resources based on student outcomes goals and needs. This includes concrete budget strategies and hands-on exercises to help principals understand and weigh cost and tradeoff scenarios.

Webinar: Building a State Information System to Support Improvements in Productivity

On February 26, 2016 Marguerite Roza conducted a webinar for state education agency leaders. This webinar explored how SEAs can build an information system designed to drive productivity – what data are needed, how to compile the data into useful resources for leaders at every level of education and how these stakeholders can use the data to drive decision making and advance productivity.

The SEA of the Future: Prioritizing Productivity

In this volume of The SEA of the Future, Marguerite Roza co-authored two essays examining how state leaders, challenged with having to make decisions on how to use limited resources, are faced with an uneasy zero-sum game: every dollar they put into one program is a dollar not spent in another.

Funding Phantom Students

This brief describes a common practice that inhibits both efficiency and productivity: funding students who do not actually attend school in funded districts and how this is often overlooked by state leaders.

How Current Education Governance Distorts Financial Decisionmaking

In this chapter, Roza assesses the strengths and weaknesses of what remains of the old in education governance, scrutinizes how traditional governance forms are changing, and suggests how governing arrangements might be further altered to produce better educational outcomes for children.

Want to learn more?

Select your areas of interest and we will get in touch.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.