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Using Cluster Random Assignment to Measure Program Impacts: Statistical Implications for the Evaluation of Education Programs

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Publication Date: August 1999

Publisher(s): MDRC (Organization)

Author(s): Howard S. Bloom; Johannes M. Bos; Suk-Won Lee

Topic: Education (Statistics, research, and research methods and financing)

Keywords: Research Methodology

Coverage: United States


Our paper explores the possibility of randomly assigning groups (or "clusters") of individuals to a program or a control group in order to estimate the impacts of programs designed to affect whole groups. This cluster assignment approach maintains the primary strength of random assignment—the provision of unbiased impact estimates—but has less statistical power than random assignment of individuals, which usually is not possible for programs focused on whole groups.


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