ERIC Number: ED459987
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Feb-15
Reference Count: N/A
Size, Excellence, and Equity: A Report on Arkansas Schools and Districts.
Johnson, Jerry D.; Howley, Craig B.; Howley, Aimee A.
Previous studies in seven states have shown that school and district size consistently mediated the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and student achievement, with results critically relevant to state-level policymaking. The present study examined how the relationship between size and achievement varied in Arkansas schools and districts serving students from differing socioeconomic backgrounds. Data on all schools and districts in Arkansas included school district size, school size (enrollment per grade level being analyzed), standardized test scores, SES (proportion of students receiving subsidized meals), and proportion of African American students. Unlike some other states previously studied, school and district size in Arkansas were negatively related to academic performance across the entire range of SES. The negative influence of size was quite weak in affluent settings and comparatively strong in impoverished ones. With regard to achievement equity, the negative effects of poverty on student achievement were considerably stronger in larger schools and districts than in smaller ones. A four-group comparison found inequity of achievement to be magnified within larger schools in larger districts, somewhat muted within smaller schools in larger districts, and dramatically disrupted within smaller schools in smaller districts. A separate analysis found that the negative effects of poverty, size, and the poverty-size interaction were compounded in schools and districts serving predominantly African American students. Recommendations are offered to Arkansas policymakers. Appendices present calculations of the incremental effect on achievement of size increases or decreases, and a list of 19 related reports. (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A