Cost Resources

Cost data for an intervention being evaluated should be collected using the “ingredients method”, described in detail by Levin and McEwan in their 2001 book Cost-effectiveness analysis: methods and applications. The goal of the ingredients method is to determine all resources required to implement an intervention, including all personnel, facilities, equipment and materials.

In order to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis to compare the productivity of different programs with the same goals, it is necessary to collect data on both the costs and effectiveness of the educational interventions being compared, as well as for the “business-as-usual” conditions. Effectiveness data may be obtainable from existing evaluation reports, or you may be designing your own impact study to collect this data yourself. Once you have determined the costs of a program using the ingredients method, you can combine the cost data with the available effectiveness data to calculate a cost-effectiveness ratio for the intervention.

To facilitate the collection of cost data and the execution of cost and cost-effectiveness analyses, CBCSE has developed the CBCSE Cost Tool Kit, which iscurrently in alpha version. It includes spreadsheets that allow the user to list all ingredients required for an intervention being evaluated and, if necessary, to make adjustments for inflation, geographical location, and time of investment. A User Manual includes an example cost analysis to illustrate use of the Cost Tool Kit. ADatabase of Educational Resource Prices provides national prices for the most common ingredients used in educational interventions. An Amortization Calculator can be used to spread the costs of certain items such as facilities and equipment over expected life-time use, and a Wage Converter allows translation of annual salaries into hourly rates or vice versa.

If you would like to pilot the alpha version of the Cost Tool Kit and provide us with feedback, please contact us at We will ask you to review and sign the Tool Kit License Agreement, available for download below, before we send you the full set of resources.

With a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences (Award #R305U130001),CBCSE is improving the current version of the Cost Tool Kit to make it more accessible for education practitioners, policy makers and researchers to use when allocating educational resources or researching the costs or cost-effectiveness of educational programs.


Download Database of Educational Resource Prices

Download Benefits Database

Download Average Size of Educational Facilities

Download Tool Kit License Agreement for Private Individuals and Private Institutions

Download Tool Kit License Agreement for Public Institutions