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Title: What to Do When Data Are Missing in Group Randomized Controlled Trials
Description: This NCEE Technical Methods report examines how to address the problem of missing data in the analysis of data in Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) of educational interventions, with a particular focus on the common educational situation in which groups of students such as entire classrooms or schools are randomized. Missing outcome data are a problem for two reasons: (1) the loss of sample members can reduce the power to detect statistically significant differences, and (2) the introduction of non-random differences between the treatment and control groups can lead to bias in the estimate of the interventionfs effect. The report reviews a selection of methods available for addressing missing data, and then examines their relative performance using extensive simulations that varied a typical educational RCT on three dimensions: (1) the amount of missing data; (2) the level at which data are missing„Ÿat the level of whole schools (the assumed unit of randomization) or for students within schools; and, (3) the underlying missing data mechanism. The performance of the different methods is assessed in terms of bias in both the estimated impact and the associated standard error.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: October 2009
Web Release: October 13, 2009
Print Release:
Publication #: NCEE 20090049
General Ordering Information
Center/Program: NCEE
Type of Product: Technical Methods Report
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