Cost-effectiveness is an attractive term to educational policy makers, (although not necessarily to educators,) because it implies the use of a strategy or strategies which will provide the greatest achievement of nominated educational objectives for each dollar spent. This paper examines issues related to the effectiveness side of the cost- effectiveness ratio. Three measures of effectiveness are considered within the context of system level decision making at the upper secondary level of education. These are: scholastic attainment, defined as learning value added; retention rate from the commencement of Year 11 studies to the conclusion of Year 12; and invalid absences. The results of this analysis are then combined with the cost side of the ratio to enable consideration of the potential implications of cost-effectiveness analysis as a tool for educational planning.