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Article Critique: The Cost of Instructional Improvement - Essay Example

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The CPRE's first set of studies evaluated the effectiveness of educational dollars in shaping student performance. It designed a new expenditure-reporting structure that determines spending by educational program within the instructional functions. The general intention for the expenditure structure was to analyze the instructional category and account for the spending of dollars, based on educational strategy, such as core instruction, specialist teaching, professional growth, and different kinds of additional help for students with special needs. For this research, Odden et al. (2008) provided the outcomes of a project that employed the mentioned expenditure framework to recognize the costs of a number of instructional improvement strategies that CPRE researchers at the University of Michigan examined in their Study of Instructional Improvement. They also compared an experimental group applying comprehensive school reform programs with those that have not yet used such programs. They analyzed three instructional interventions that are embedded in the comprehensive school reform (CSR) programs: Success for All (SFA), America's Choice (AC), and Accelerated Schools Project (ASP). Eleven schools were chosen for this study. Data collection included reviewing budget documents and school report documents and interviewing key informants from 2004 to 2005. Findings showed that using CSR programs enhanced levels of educational attainment for the respondents, with broad differences in levels of

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resources for the sampling, allocation of resources, divergence in resource use from what the instructional improvement designs recommended, and across and within sampling groups. The purpose of the article is clear in the introduction of the paper. The researchers provided the context of CPRE and the work it has done and further aims to do. They specified their focus, which is studying the efficiency of instructional improvements. The authors also reviewed pertinent literature, but concentrated on the CPRE’s mission, goals, and developments. Most of the research also came from the researchers’ past studies. This makes the literature biased toward what CPRE needs to do, so that it can attain its mission and goals. The introduction lacks further review of past and existing studies on the accounting of educational dollars. More studies about existing cost structures, including auditing and accounting practices and policies, will help identify the relevance and position of this research in the extant literature. The data collection is valid, because the researchers ensured that data can be compared across the states. They were able to compare the data by adjusting districts and states’ national average school salaries and fixed benefits rates through the Geographical Cost of Education Index (GCEI). The researchers also used diverse data methods to attain a comprehensive view of the components and effects of comprehensive school reform (CSR) programs. They triangulated data collection methods that improved the validity of their research findings. The findings of this research are convincing, because the data shows the effects of CSR on resource allocation and priorities of the schools. For instance, because of the high population of low-income students, the schools used around 20% to 40% of their budget on financial assistance programs. This means that instructional costs included responding to the socio-economic limitations of their
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Summary

Odden, A., Goertz, M., Goetz, M., Archibald, S., Gross, B., Weiss, M., & Mangan, M. T. (2008). The cost of instructional improvement: Resource allocation in schools using comprehensive strategies to change classroom practice. Journal of Education Finance, 33 (4), 381-405…
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