ERIC Number: ED464725
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Class Size and Student Success: Comparing the Results of Five Elementary Schools Using Small Class Sizes.
Haenn, Joseph F.
Three "Lab" schools were established in 1994-1995 in Durham, North Carolina public schools solely to provide smaller classes for disadvantaged inner-city students. In addition, smaller class sizes were achieved in two additional elementary schools by "cashing in" teacher aides and other more judicious use of available funds. These two schools were used as a comparison group in a study to determine the effects of smaller class size on achievement; students matched on appropriate test scores from other Durham schools were used as a control group. Focus groups were conducted with staff and parents at the three Lab schools to find out what they thought were optimal class sizes and the advantages of smaller classes for students. Test data used to analyze the relationship between class size and academic performance at all five schools included: (1) assessments from Marie Clay's Observation Survey; (2) the Developmental Reading Assessment; and (3) North Carolina End-of-Grade Test scores. State standards call for class sizes of 23 students for K-2 grades, and 26 for grades 3-5. The average class size for the Lab schools ranged from 14 to 21 for K-2 and from 11 to 22.5 for grades 3-5. The average class size for the comparison schools ranged from 13.9 to 20-3 for K-2 grades, and from 14.3 to 20.3 for grades 3-5. When asked what class size was "just right," responses from school staff ranged from 16-21 students; in contrast parent responses ranged from 10-19. Students in Lab schools had higher test gain scores than students in the comparison and control groups for Kindergarten, and for first and fourth grades. Students in the Lab and comparison groups had higher test gain scores than students in the control groups for Kindergarten and second grade. Alternatively, students in the control group had higher gain scores than those in the Lab and comparison schools for third and fifth grades. These findings suggest that smaller class sizes produce the largest and most consistent test gains among disadvantaged children in the earlier grades (K-2). Multivariate analysis of the data indicated that although test scores varied within and across groups by grade, there was a significant increase in test scores for students in all groups and in all grades. (Contains 17 references.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Durham City School District NC
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 1-5, 2002).