Thomas Kane

Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and Economics, HGSE

As school districts and state agencies accumulate quantitative student outcome data, demand for evidence of impact will grow. All of us must learn to be critical consumers of quantitative evidence of impact. The key challenge when evaluating the impact of an education policy or program is to identify what would have happened if that policy or program had not been implemented. There are a number of different approaches to constructing a plausible estimate of what would have happened, using experimental or quasi-experimental techniques. In this course, we will have three goals: to gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of different evaluation designs, including experimental and quasi-experimental techniques; to develop the skills required to be a critical reader of impact evaluations; and to develop the ability to more clearly recognize opportunities for impact evaluations in education and to implement policies in a manner that would be amenable to evaluation. During the course, we will read and critique a number of impact evaluations, replicate the results of several evaluations, and design evaluations of educational programs. The course will focus on quantitative impact evaluations, as opposed to qualitative or process evaluations.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of S-030 or S-040, or prior equivalent training in multiple regression. Also offered by the Graduate School of Education as A-164.