Educational Program Evaluation


RAND rigorously evaluates all kinds of educational programs by performing cost-benefit analyses, measuring effects on student learning, and providing recommendations to help improve program design and implementation. Our portfolio of educational program evaluations includes studies of early childhood education, summer and after-school programs, educator pay-for-performance, programs intended to reduce educational disparities, and choice- and standards-based reforms.

Explore Educational Program Evaluation

  • Teacher and preschool students reading outside


    Ask Me Anything: Catherine Augustine on Summer Learning

    With summer now underway, RAND's Catherine Augustine hosted an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, answering questions about year-round schooling, how to get the most out of summer learning programs, and more.

    Jul 3, 2014

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    Innovative Preschool Academy Project

    RAND is helping bring evidence-based practice into Hopkins House's Innovative Preschool Academy (IPA), an early childhood education center located in Northern Virginia.

    Jun 13, 2014

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    Evaluation of Delaware Stars for Early Success: Year 1 Report

    As a first step in a larger study of Delaware Stars, a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for early learning and care programs, RAND research reviewed prior literature, examined existing data, and interviewed key stakeholders.

    Jun 9, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Effectiveness of Cognitive Tutor Algebra I at Scale

    This article examines the effectiveness of a technology-based algebra curriculum in a wide variety of middle schools and high schools in seven states.

    Jun 1, 2014

  • Serving Time or Wasting Time?


    Are Prisoners Serving Time or Wasting Time?

    A comprehensive literature review enabled the examination of the association between correctional education and reductions in recidivism, improvements in employment upon release from prison, and the cost-effectiveness of correctional education.

    May 22, 2014

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    Four Ways to Foster Successful School Leadership

    Principals are second only to teachers as the most important school factor affecting student achievement. States and school districts can help principals by implementing effective hiring practices, building high-quality evaluation systems, entrusting principals with autonomy, and providing resources and supports.

    May 8, 2014

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    Sending Prisoners to College Will Save You Money

    Correctional education works for states because it saves money and shrinks prison populations. It works for prisoners, the public, law enforcement, and the judicial system because educated prisoners are less likely to return to their criminal ways once released.

    Apr 11, 2014

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    The Academic Impact of Enrollment in International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs: A Case Study of Chicago Public Schools

    In schools accredited as IB World Schools by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), teachers use IB curriculum and pedagogy to teach a range of courses that are intended to prepare IB-enrolled students for college.

    Apr 1, 2014

  • prisoner graduating holding a diploma


    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn

    Large states cut spending on prison education programs by an average of 10 percent between the 2009 and 2012 fiscal years, while medium-sized states cut spending by 20 percent. While the drop appears to have resulted from budget cuts prompted by the economic downturn, evidence suggests that the curtailment of prison education could increase prison system costs in the longer term.

    Mar 18, 2014

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    Research Brief

    Correctional Education in the United States: How Effective Is It, and How Can We Move the Field Forward?

    Assesses the effectiveness of correctional education for both incarcerated adults and juveniles, presents the results of a survey of U.S. state correctional education directors, and offers recommendations for improving correctional education.

    Mar 4, 2014

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    Developing Army Leaders: Lessons for Teaching Critical Thinking in Distributed, Resident, and Mixed-Delivery Venues

    Evaluated the effectiveness of the Common Core -- the first phase of the U.S. Army's system for developing critical thinking skills in its officer corps -- and the extent of differences among distributed, resident, and mixed-delivery course venues.

    Mar 3, 2014

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    How New Deeper Learning Tests Measure Up

    English language arts and mathematics items from a group of nationally and internationally administered “deeper learning” tests were more cognitively demanding than previously studied state tests. Demand also varied by subject and item format. These and other findings provide a benchmark for comparing how well new tests assess deeper learning.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • two male students looking at a laptop


    What to Make of P-TECH Schools

    There is no doubting the viability of STEM skills in the 21st century job market and the long-term benefits of going to college. But the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) program could be promising for two reasons that have nothing to do with technology.

    Feb 21, 2014

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    How to Assess 21st Century Competencies: 12 Key Lessons

    Assessing competencies such as creativity and global awareness can provide educators with a broader set of indicators they can use to inform instruction and set goals with students. However, evidence about the effects of testing suggests that caution and careful planning is warranted when developing a new assessment system.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • Women participate in a nutrition class at the Los Angeles County women's jail


    Correctional Education: How Effective Is It and What Can We Do to Make It Better?

    Ex-offenders do not have the knowledge and skills to support a successful return to their communities. Trying to reduce re-incarceration rates is partly why states devote resources to educating and training individuals while in prison. Lois Davis will present results from a comprehensive RAND study on the effectiveness of correctional education.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • News Release

    Prison-Based Education Declined During Economic Downturn; More Work Is Needed to Better Focus Spending

    State-level spending on prison education programs declined sharply during the economic downturn, with the sharpest drop occurring in states that incarcerate the most prisoners.

    Feb 18, 2014

  • College students attending a lecture in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi


    India Embraces MOOCs, but What if It Is a 'Lousy Product'?

    One hundred engineering colleges around India will rely heavily on virtual instruction under a new program. Given the amount India is investing, it is important to make the best possible use of the complex and evolving Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) model.

    Jan 8, 2014

  • preschool girls drawing


    Evaluating Delaware's Quality Rating and Improvement System for Child Care and Early Childhood Education

    The Evaluation of Delaware Stars assesses whether rating tiers reflect relevant differences in the quality of home- and center-based programs and whether the system is operating effectively.

    Dec 4, 2013

  • part of an infographic about prison education programs


    Serving Time or Wasting Time?

    Prisoners say they need education and job training to reintegrate into society. They're right: 68 percent of inmates in state prisons lack a high school diploma. Correctional education programs improve job prospects upon release from prison, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars.

    Nov 26, 2013

  • News Release

    Actions School Districts Can Take to Help Principals Better Lead Schools

    States and school districts can help principals be more successful by matching the correct candidate with the appropriate school, by using a high-quality system to evaluate them, by giving them the right amount of autonomy, and by providing them with the resources and support they need to produce better education outcomes.

    Nov 14, 2013

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