Title: Cost effectiveness of preparation options
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090866/00001
 Material Information
Title: Cost effectiveness of preparation options
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Sindelar, Paul T.
Publisher: Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education, College of Education, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090866
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Cost Effectiveness of Preparation Options

Questions Addressed

What is the cost of preparing special educators through AR,
and how does it compare to the cost of traditional routes
How can a state best invest its training resources to maximize
supply of special education teachers?


Co-Principal Investigators

Paul T. Sindelar, Ph.D.
Director, Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education
University of Florida
G-315 Norman Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611-7050
(352) 392-0701 (x255)
(352) 392-2655 (fax)

Michael S. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Department of Special Education
Johns Hopkins University
100 Whitehead Hall
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218-2680
(410) 516-8275
(410) 516-8424 (fax)

Subcontractor: Bureau of Economic and Business Research, Univ. of

David Denslow, Ph.D.
Distinguished Service Professor
Warrington College of Business Administration
Department of Economics
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-0171 (x340)

James Dewey, Ph.D.
Research Economist
Bureau of Economic and Business Research
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-0171 (x339)

David Lenze, Ph.D.
Research Economist
Bureau of Economic and Business Research
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-0171 (x214)

Description of the Study

Although several studies of the cost effectiveness of teacher preparation
options have been conducted (Darling-Hammond, 2001; Denton & Smith,
1985; Fowler, 2003; Lewis, 1990; Rice & Brent, 2002), none has focused
specifically on the preparation of special education teachers. The early
studies were designed to address institutional issues. For example, Denton
and Smith compared costs of two programs at one institution, one for
education majors and a shortened version for liberal arts students. Lewis
studied the feasibility of a post-baccalaureate program, focusing on the
opportunity costs to participants of delaying training and entry to the
profession. Darling-Hammond was the first to estimate costs of different
program prototypes. She compared 4-year and 5-year traditional programs
and fast track alternative routes using estimates of cost and attrition rates
available in the literature. She reported that 3 years out, 5-year programs
were most cost efficient and that despite higher initial costs even 4-year
traditional programs were more cost effective than alternative routes.

Rice and Brent (2002) and Fowler (2003) both studied specific programs,
the former Pathways to Teaching and the latter the Massachusetts Signing
Bonus Program for New Teachers. Pathways to Teaching provides support
to Peace Corps retirees, non-certified teachers, and paraprofessionals as
they complete traditional, university based teacher preparation programs
(and thus may be considered alternative only by virtue of the trainee
populations it serves). Eight different sites were studied, and high and low
cost estimates were reported separately for public and private institutions,
and for retirees and non-certified teachers, on the one hand, and
paraprofessionals, on the other. This study is notable for standardizing cost
estimates and for using a detailed budget template. The Massachusetts
Signing Bonus Program for New Teachers is an offshoot of Teach for

America, in which "high achieving candidates" received $20,000 for
entering the program and persisting in the profession. Also like Teach for
America, the program is fast track, requiring only 7 weeks of training
before entering the classroom. Fowler estimated that the state had invested
over $900,000 in 74 trainees who had left the field, a per capital cost of
roughly $12,450.

Fowler's per capital cost estimate for this fast-track program was similar to
Rice and Brent's low estimates for Pathways programs at public
institutions, which were $7,380 to $14,814 for Peace Corps and
paraprofessional students. All other estimates exceeded Fowler's. Taken
together, these findings are consistent with Darling Hammond's, who
reported that initial costs were substantially greater for traditional 4-year
programs than fast-track alternatives (and greater still for 5-year
programs). Nonetheless, after factoring in the effects of attrition, Darling
Hammond judged traditional programs to be more cost effective than

No one has studied the cost effectiveness of special education teacher
preparation options, and no one has considered alternative routes except
the fast track routes studied by Darling-Hammond and Fowler. Given the
recent proliferation of alternative route options (Rosenberg & Sindelar,
2001), the need to estimate the costs of various training options is great.
This study advances existing literature by focusing on special education
teacher preparation and by considering training alternatives other than fast
track routes. Its ultimate purpose is to develop a marketplace model of
special education teacher supply and demand to guide policy makers as
they allocate training resources among preparation alternatives.

Cost estimates will be reported for various preparation prototypes,
identified on the basis of findings from a separate COPSSE study in which
alternative route programs were catalogued and analyzed. Estimates of
attrition and teacher quality were derived from both this CEC indexing
study and from estimates available in the literature.

Findings from this study will help us identify the need for better estimates
of model parameters. In its simplest form, the model describes a function
that relates supply of special education teachers to wages. In this simple
model, shortages may be addressed by increasing wages-often a
politically untenable solution-or by supplementing the supply of teachers
willing to work at current wages. To supplement supply, training
alternatives must tap new populations of trainees, suggesting that one
important criterion by which a training alternative must be judged is its
unique contribution to supply. A second important consideration for
preparation alternatives is maintaining workforce quality. It seems

unlikely that supply can be supplemented at current wages without a
loosening of entry requirements.

Other variables must be factored into the model, notably teacher quality
and attrition/retention. Attrition influences teacher supply at both the time
of program completion (when some prospective teachers choose not to
enter the field) and during the first several years of teaching, when novices
are most vulnerable to leaving. To assess cost effectiveness, the
proportions of trainees who enter and remain in teaching both must be
estimated. Furthermore, assessments of beginning teacher quality-
performance on state licensure tests, supervisors' ratings, etc.-would
allow for further differentiation based on benefit to students.

Related Research

Darling-Hammond, L. (2000). Solving the dilemmas of teacher supply,
demand, and standards: How we can ensure a competent, caring, and
qualified teacher for every child. New York: National Commission on
Teaching and America's Future.

Denton, J. J., & Smith, N. L. (1985). Alternative teacher preparation
programs: A cost-effectiveness comparison. Educational Evaluation and
Policy Analysis, 7, 197-205.

Fowler, C. R. (2003). The Massachusetts signing bonus program for new
teachers: A model of teacher preparation worth copying? Education Policy
Analysis Archive, 11(13), 1-24.

Lewis, D. R. (1990). Estimating the economic worth of a 5th year licensure
program for teachers. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 12, 25-

Rice, J. K., & Brent, B. O. (2002). An alternative avenue to teacher
certification: A cost analysis of the pathways to teaching careers program.
Journal of Education Finance, 27, 1029-1048.

Rosenberg, M. S., & Sindelar, P. T. (2001). The proliferation of
alternative routes to certification in special education: A critical review of
the literature. Arlington, VA: The National Clearinghouse for Professions
in Special Education, The Council for Exceptional Children. Available:
www. sDecial-ed-careers.ors.


1. Develop general analytical framework for (a) classifying and
measuring costs and (b) evaluating net benefit of a preparation
2. Analyze existing cost data, including preparation and turnover
costs, and estimates of output, most notably unique contribution
to supply.
3. Analyze AR indexing study to determine range of
representative program types.
4. Analyze Title II data for preparation and turnover costs, and
output measures, most notably unique contribution to supply.
5. On the basis of these data, develop quantitative model of the
special education teacher marketplace.
6. Identify areas in which additional information is needed most,
rank them in terms of importance and the feasibility with which
the data may be obtained, and develop plan for this line of
inquiry in the future.


The initial subcontract to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research
was issued in March 15, 2005. Two reports are nearing completion and are
due in draft form on June 15, 2005: a description of the Cost Effectiveness
Model and an economic analysis of teacher preparation program design.

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