A Guide to Calculating District Expenditure-to-Performance Ratios using Publicly Available Data

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This guide shows how states and districts can use publicly available data on district expenditures and student academic performance to calculate six district-level expenditure-to performance ratios. The guide is based on a separate Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Northeast & Islands project (Lavigne, Ryan, Zweig, & Buffington, in press) conducted for the Northeast Rural Districts Research Alliance and uses state department of education data from one state in the REL Northeast & Islands Region as an example. This guide also shows states and districts how to rank districts on each of the ratios to examine how a district’s perceived efficiency varies depending on which expenditure-to performance ratio is considered. As the example presented in the guide indicates, the perceived efficiency of a district relative to other districts in the state can vary widely across the six ratios. For example, 4 of the 10 highest ranked districts on ratio A, a ratio of total per pupil expenditures to median student growth percentile in math, were ranked in the bottom half of the distribution on at least one of the other five ratios.


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