Funding the Vision: The Relationship between Expenditure and

Funding the Vision:
The Relationship between Expenditure and Student
Achievement in Seventh-day Adventist K-8 Schools
in the United States
Dave C. Lawrence, Ed.D., MBA
Pacific Union College
Chief Financial Officer &
Vice-President for Financial
About the presenter
• Mesa Grande & La Sierra Academies
▫ Vice-Principal Finance, 1994-2005
• Loma Linda University
▫ University Controller, 2005-2010
▫ Adjunct Professor, Healthcare Finance &
• La Sierra University
▫ Adjunct Professor, School Finance
• Pacific Union College
▫ CFO, Vice President for Financial Administration,
About the paper
• Adaptation of unpublished dissertation by
presenter, 2010 La Sierra University
• Paper presented at National Summit on
Adventist Education La Sierra University,
Riverside, CA, October 20-23, 2010
• Selected papers, Peril and Promise: Adventist
Education at the Crossroads (2012), Chapter 14
About the presentation
• Introduction, background, and overview
• Data collection and methodology
• Research findings and conclusions
▫ The efficiency matrix
Linking spending and achievement
Implications for practice and policy
Questions and answers
The Vision of Adventist Education
• “ . . . prepares the student for the joy of service in
this world and for the higher joy of wider service
in the world to come” (White, 2007, p4).
The Vision of Adventist Education
• to provide students with a learning environment
that affords them opportunities to accept Jesus
as their personal Savior.
The Heart of the Matter
• When parents pay $5,000 to $8,000 each year
for the education of their students, what should
they expect in return? Here is Johnny’s
Commitment to serving the community
Cultivation of social skills
Foster spiritual values
Promote wholesome living
Develop life-long friendships
Nurture good sportsmanship
The Heart of the Matter
• What if Johnny finished with a 0.65 GPA and
was deemed academically unfit to attend any
Student Academic Achievement
• Is at the forefront of every debate on the status
of education in America today
• Focuses on the question: Does Money Matter?
• Is relevant to public as well as private schools
Funding the Vision
• Is there a Relationship between Expenditure and
Student Achievement in Seventh-day Adventist
K-8 Schools in the United States?
▫ The mathematical quotient of a school’s total
expenditures (adjusted for capital expenditures)
and the ending enrolment of the school for a fiscal
▫ Measures how much was learned
▫ Measures the student’s capacity to learn
Data Collection
• CognitiveGenesis data set
▫ ITBS®, CogAT®, parents’ education, teacher,
education, students’ SES, etc
• School financial data
▫ Tuition, subsidy support, etc
Data Collection
Descriptive Statistics
• Mean per-student spending $5,963 (ranging
from $1,335 to $14,276)
Main finding of research
• There is no relationship between per-student
spending and student achievement in SDA K-8
schools in the United States
▫ This is true for achievement as well as
achievement controlled for ability
▫ This is also true when controlled for parent’s
education, teacher’s education, teacher-student
ratio, and revenue source
▫ Academic subscales were also controlled
Other findings
• There is a relationship between SES and student
Scatter Plot of Per-Student Spending
and NCE
Other findings
• There is a relationship between SES and student
• There are schools that operate at different levels
of efficiency:
1. High ability and low per-student expense
2. High ability and high per-student expense
3. Low ability and low per-student expense
4. Low ability and high per-student expense
School Efficiency Matrix
Inefficiency – Quadrant D
• 72% of the schools had four or more teachers,
and 28% had fewer than four teachers.
▫ It could be concluded that inefficient schools are
generally larger schools.
• Schools in Quadrant D may share other
characteristics; however, the investigation of
these kinds of commonalities is prohibited by
the terms of the Agreement of Confidentiality
Implications for Practice & Policy
• Many variables are at work to effect academic
outcomes in students, but per-student spending
is not one of those variables
• The practices and policies of SDA schools should
continue to focus on providing adequate
resources for the education of students
• Since SES does matter, policies should be aimed
at narrowing or eliminating the so called
“achievement gap.”
Implications for Practice & Policy
• Since per-pupil spending does not predict
academic success, a discussion of efficiency is
▫ Are schools achieving maximally desired results
without wasting scarce resources?
• As a matter of policy, schools should be required
to compute an index of their spending relative to
their students’ achievement and make this
information known to parents and constituents
on an annual basis

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