An analysis performed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) found that Positive Action provided the most economic benefit through cost savings than any other educational program.
WSIPP researchers concluded that Positive Action can provide a cost-benefit ratio of $32. This means for every dollar spent implementing and teaching Positive Action, local and state governments can save at least $32.36 in other services that would otherwise be dispensed in a reactionary form.
The theoretical ROI for implementing Positive Action, based on this ratio, is 3,136%. The report also concluded that implementing Positive Action has a 95% chance of the benefits exceeding the cost.View Report
WSIPP is nonpartisan research group that provides in-depth analysis to relevant policy questions. The group employs a multidisciplinary team of researchers who provide policy research for lawmakers. It is internationally recognized for the quality of its research, most notably, cost-benefit analyses. To find out more, click here
In 2019, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), in collaboration with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative set out to assess the impact of various evidence-based programs. The methodology is based on the WSIPP approach but tailored for Pennsylvania using state-specific data on cost and population. Positive Action was selected for analysis and again achieved the highest CBR out of all the programs reviewed.
Like the Columbia study, the PCCD analysis features three models of sensitivity: low, medium and high. The medium, or middle-of-the-road, sensitivity reports a CBR of $217.89, or an ROI of 21,689%.
In 2015, a group of researchers at the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education (https://www.cbcse.org/) conducted a comprehensive analysis on the economics of Social and Emotional Learning. The completed report, “The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning” features a robust statistical approach to cost-benefit analysis that includes the economic concept of opportunity cost and the cost-accounting approach known as the ingredients method. The group considered five different sensitivity settings in their analysis. The average across each of the settings indicate a CBR of $10.14, or an ROI of 914%.
There are many ways to describe the financial benefits that are described in these analyses. A contextual perspective is provided in Los Angeles County where a detailed analysis was performed on the cost for juvenile detention. Analysts estimated the costs at more than $233,000 per offender, per year1. To put that number in perspective, the same amount of money would be enough to implement Positive Action in 15 average-sized elementary schools. For every potential juvenile offender diverted from the justice system by implementing Positive Action, local municipalities and states can attain significant savings.
When the total cost of reporting, investigating, apprehending, prosecuting, sentencing, transporting, incarcerating, and rehabilitating juvenile offenders is considered, it is easy to see the economic value of effective prevention through the implementation of Positive Action.
This is only one dimension of the potential economic benefits associated with implementing Positive Action. Also consider the costs associated with various health issues that can be prevented. From alcohol use to illicit drugs, the direct and indirect costs of substance use is considerable.
While each of these analyses looks at the cost-savings value of prevention, they fail to consider the economic growth that could also be attributable. In one longitudinal study, researchers found that:
According to a study conducted by the Brookings Institute, students who obtain a bachelor’s degree will earn twice as much as a student who only completes high school2.
The implementation of a Social and Emotional Learning program is one of the most important curricula decisions a school or district will consider. It can affect the culture and climate of a school in ways that cannot be numerated or easily summarized. Not only is Positive Action more effective than other Social and Emotional Learning programs, it is more cost-effective to implement and is the most likely to produce measurable results.