Journal Article

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis for State and Local Decision Making

An Application to Half-Day and Full-Day Preschool Special Education Programs

By Barnett, W. S. (1987)

The following article presents the results of a cost-effectiveness analysis in which half-day and full-day intervention programs for handicapped preschoolers were compared. The research sample consisted of 39 matched pairs of handicapped 4-year-olds in nine half- and nine full-day classrooms. Program effectiveness was evaluated using cognitive and expressive language scores from a developmental inventory. Cost data were collected on personnel, facilities, equipment, transportation, and donations. The results indicated no differences in the educational outcomes associated with length of day and showed that half-day programs could serve 60% more children than full-day programs with the same budget. Of the two models examined, the half-day program appears to be the more efficient. Implications of findings for further research are considered.

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The Authors

W. Steven (Steve) Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and the founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Dr. Barnett’s work primarily focuses on public policies regarding early childhood education, child care, and child development.