ERIC Number: ED307665
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Organizational Size and Learning.
Berlin, Barney; And Others
Americans tend to value bigger as better. Conventional wisdom over the years has dictated that "too small" schools and school districts could not provide sufficient educational opportunities. Since 1930, the number of school districts has shrunk from 128,000 to less than 16,000. As districts consolidate, parents feel distant from schools and powerless to affect policy. At the same time, Gene Glass's definitive work stresses the learning benefits of smaller classes. This paper reviews current thinking on district, school, and class size as they affect learning in the classroom. A table summarizes correlations between size and various other factors, including state public school enrollments, minority, student concentrations, SAT and ACT scores, state poverty levels, per pupil expenditure averages, teacher salaries, and Catholic school enrollments. Findings show that smaller is likely to be better. However, political and economic influences will probably prevent change based on size considerations. Robert Slater's research expands the appropriate class size question by relating class size to structural differentiation and school culture. The nature of instruction must also be considered. To achieve appropriate instruction, the group's size and composition must fit the instructional situation. A diagnostic-prescriptive model (like Bloom's mastery learning) with variable size based on instructional need seems logical. Also, home schooled children's superior test scores corroborate the smaller-is-better findings. People seem to learn, change, and grow in situations where they have some control, some personal influence, and some efficacy. (15 references) (MLH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, March 27-31, 1989).