The cost-effectiveness of two program delivery systems for drop-out prevention in the elementary school
The purpose of the research study was to determine the cost-effectiveness of two delivery systems for drop-out prevention in the elementary school. The first program involved a self-contained, homogeneous classroom composed of fifth and sixth grade, at-risk, over-age students and known as the Program for Academic Skills and Self-Esteem (PASS). The other program designated. Program A, also involved fifth and sixth grade identified, at-risk and over-age students who were assigned to another campus and to nine, self-contained, heterogeneous fifth and sixth grade classes.
The study was restricted to two elementary schools in the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso, Texas, during the 1987-1989 scholastic years. It addressed the academic gain, the per-student cost of providing the program, and the relationships between the per-student cost and the students' gain in academic achievement in the two delivery systems. This study will assist school districts to plan and implement cost-effective educational programs within their designated budget allocations. It will also identify and assist with the drop-out problem.
The procedures for the study were carried out in four phases. They included the identification of the alternative programs; the cost analysis; the effectiveness; and the comparison of cost-effectiveness of the two-program delivery systems.
The major findings were that Program A was more cost-effective than the PASS Program. The t-test for independent samples indicated a significance between the cost-effectiveness ratios of the two delivery systems. The null hypothesis was rejected at the .05 level. The t-test indicated that there was not a significant difference in the mean per student achievement gain at the .05 level. However, there was a significant difference in the per student cost of the two delivery systems. The PASS Program had a mean per-student cost of $2191 while Program A was $1923. The PASS Program was the most expensive of the two delivery systems. The t-test indicated a significant difference in the mean per-student cost at the .05 level.
The application of cost analysis within a school district context plays an important role in the accountability and creditability of the decision-making process. Cost-effectiveness techniques will assist administrators to make sound and more informed decisions.