The ERS Resource Map
Plotting a course for restructuring your resources (talent, time, and money) to improve student performance requires a clear map of how these resources are currently being spent. ERS provides this clarity through its resource mapping process. It gives educational leaders a picture of how well their resources are aligned with their strategic vision—and where the disconnects are. Whereas most organizations allocate costs sufficiently to create a school-level dollar per pupil metric, the ERS Resource Map takes allocation a step deeper, examining priority investments in specific students. We look not only at the amount that is spent ($ per pupil) but also at how the resources are allocated (time in subjects, group sizes). The insight this in-depth look provides can identify realignment opportunities that will lead to transformational change.
Our resource mapping process is highly collaborative, with ERS professionals working closely with the school system leadership and key stakeholders for up to two years. The information and context it provides can be invaluable in helping identify the most leveraged opportunities for realigning investments to support sustainable improvements in student performance. With each of our Resource Maps, we:
- Research a comprehensive range of resource factors, including expenditures, payroll, course schedules, human resources, student information, student performance, and other data.
- Supplement these data with information and insights gained through extensive interviews at multiple levels throughout the school system.
- Refine district-provided information, reconciling data and accounts to identify data flaws and inconsistencies, and recoding data so that spending can be compared to other school systems.
- Define clear, research-supported metrics that describe how talent, time, and money are allocated to create individual attention for students, leverage teaching effectiveness, and focus student time.
- Analyze student-level resource data against student performance data. We calculate and evaluate key resource metrics for individual students, then link these “input” metrics to student performance “outcome” metrics. Using districts’ existing student performance data as a proxy for academic need and student progress, ERS tries to determine whether resources are allocated according to need.
- Report our findings through clear, well-documented reports that help school system leaders effectively diagnose inefficiencies and misalignments in the way their human, time, and financial resources are allocated.
- Engage with school leaders and other stakeholders on a regular basis to discuss findings and develop implications and recommendation.
Some of the questions that this analysis might address are:
- Does our district spend more centrally or on operations than other districts? Do we invest enough in professional development?
- Did certain schools get more resources than others and why? Is the result equitable? And how does this compare to other districts?
- Did certain student types (e.g., ELL or SPED) get more resources than other student types and why? And how does this compare to other districts?
- Did students who failed math (or ELA) last year get more time in math (or ELA) this year? Or a smaller group size? Or a more effective teacher?
- Do some schools spend more on 12th grade electives than on 9th grade core classes? Which classes are most expensive to operate? And is there opportunity for consolidation?