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ERIC Number: ED389503
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov-15
Reference Count: 0
The Matthew Principle: A West Virginia Replication?
Education Policy Analysis Archives, v3 n18 Nov 1995
In 1988, a California study by Friedkin and Necochea confirmed an interaction between size and socioeconomic status such that large schools benefited affluent students, whereas small schools benefited impoverished students. This report describes a replication applying the model to West Virginia schools and school districts. In order to control for widely varying grade-span configurations, school size was defined as the fall 1990 enrollment in the grade-level cohort under analysis. Separate analyses were carried out on grades 3, 6, 9, and 11. Achievement was defined as composite basic skills scores on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. Socioeconomic status was defined as (1) the proportion of students receiving free or reduced-price meals and (2) the proportion of the adult population with educational attainment less than grade 12. The results of bivariate correlational and multivariate regression analyses are similar to those of the California study, except that the pattern of effects derives in part from the fact that impoverished West Virginia students tended to be served by smaller schools. Small schools disrupted the usual negative relationship between socioeconomic status and student achievement. The size effect was absent in grade 3, was modest and indirect in grade 6, strengthened in grade 9, and was strongest and both direct and indirect in grade 11. The combined and indirect effects of size were strong, as well, across all grades in analyses at the school district level. That is, impoverished students appear to derive achievement benefits from attending small school districts. Since 1988 a consolidation scheme facilitated by the state has closed nearly 20 percent of West Virginia's schools, most of them small schools serving rural communities. The findings are interpreted with respect to this context. Contains 36 references, 9 statistical tables, and an appendix explaining regression equations used. (Author/SV)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Disadvantaged, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Multiple Regression Analysis, Multivariate Analysis, Outcomes of Education, School District Size, School Effectiveness, School Size, Small Schools, Socioeconomic Status
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: West Virginia
Note: Revised version of paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Rural Education Association (Salt Lake City, UT, October 1995). "Education Policy Analysis Archives" is an electronic journal.