Stephen Carroll & Ethan Scherer [328K PDF]:
This briefing synthesizes the empirical research on the effects of educational quality on the community. First, please note the word “empirical.” RAND reviewed empirical studies — studies in which some evidence was offered in support of the arguments. In the course of the literature review, we ran across books and articles in which the authors put forth logical arguments about the relationship between educational quality and the community, but did not offer any empirical evidence in support of those arguments. We do not suggest that these arguments are wrong, but we did not include them in this review because no evidence was offered in support of them.
This briefing focuses on results reported in the literature that apply to K-12 education, public and private. In our review, we generally did not consider studies that examined the effects of educational quality in either post-secondary education or early childhood education on the community.
We excluded studies that we considered of low quality, either because the methodology or the data were inadequate and which, therefore, reported findings that we thought were not well supported by empirical evidence. We also excluded studies that reported findings not adequately supported by the analysis, even if the study used accepted methodologies and substantial data.
Also, our review did not include research on how to improve quality or the cost of doing so. We looked at how educational quality affected the community, but not at what might be done to improve quality, or what that might cost.