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BRIEFNovember 8, 2023

Cost Measurement

Deciding whether a policy reform should be implemented requires an assessment of both benefits and costs. While researchers and practitioners regularly use rigorous evidence on program impacts to estimate the benefits of educational reforms, costs tend to be an afterthought and are rarely estimated in a rigorous and systematic way. To fill the gap in rigorous evidence on the cost of interventions in international development, SIEF mandates that all funded teams collect cost data during implementation and estimate the cost of interventions using the ingredients-based method. In addition, SIEF has been developing guidance documents, tools, and webinars to assist with cost data collection.


Capturing Cost Data

Holla, A & Pan, Y. (2020). How much do our recommendations cost? Incorporating more careful costing into our analytics and operations in Education.

Fishman, S. (2018). Looks great, but how much does it cost? How to capture and analyze costs.

Holla, A & Pan, Y. (2020). How much does your remote learning intervention cost?

Holla, A. (2019). Capturing cost data: a first-mile problem.

Fishman, S. (2018). Excuse me, can anyone tell me the cost of this education program?

Holla, A. (2012). How much do our impacts cost?

Costing Tools

Template for costing interventions that encourage remote learning

The template is designed for six research teams funded through the SIEF Call 5 Covid-19 window to get started on conducting a rigorous cost analysis on interventions that encourage remote learning, such as text reminders to tune in to radio or TV programs, phone-based tutoring, and remote instruction. The template can be adapted by other teams who want to cost out remote learning services. To learn more about using the template, please refer to this blog.

Costing Tool for School Reopening and Learning Recovery

This interactive Excel-based tool is designed to help users estimate the costs of implementing measures to ensure the safety of the education community, recover learning loss caused by the COVID-19 school closures, support the emotional well-being of children, and reach the most marginalized populations. Additionally, the tool helps quantify funding sources and estimate potential funding gaps, if relevant. Though the tool was initially designed when schools were reopening following the COVID-19 global pandemic, many of the interventions costed apply more generally.

Help on using the tool

Additional resources


PERU: Reopening rural secondary schools

In collaboration with UNESCO Horizontes project, the SIEF team and the World Bank Education Finance team guided the Ministry of Education in Peru on planning the reopening of rural secondary schools. To get to know more about the application, please refer to the customized tool.

SUDAN: Assessing adequacy and equity of school resources

The SIEF team, the Education Finance team and the Sudan country team customized the tool to assess the adequacy and equity of school resources in the State of Khartoum, Sudan. Please refer to the English version and the Arabic version of the customized tool.