ERIC Number: ED308062
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-May
Reference Count: N/A
What Is the Effect of Small-Scale Schooling on Student Achievement? ERIC Digest.
Howley, Craig B.
This digest reviews recent evidence of the positive effects of small-scale schooling on student achievement. Historically, larger school size has been viewed as an important educational reform producing cost-effectiveness and educational efficiency. Today, small-scale schooling is found primarily in rural areas and small towns. A 1964 study concluded that small high schools offer students greater opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities and exercise leadership roles. A literature study on the subject from 1924 to 1974 showed most investigators focusing on input variables and recommending increases in school size. However, studies that examined student achievement did not recommend increases in school size. More recently, researchers have turned their attention to outcome variables, such as student achievement, and process variables, such as school climate and instructional leadership. When these studies control for socioeconomic status (SES), they tend to confirm a positive effect of small-scale schooling on student achievement. A 1988 study reports that large school and district size negatively affects student achievement in low SES areas, but positively affects it in high SES areas. Unanswered questions, however, include the use of state data, self-report studies, and other methodological considerations. It is concluded that further research can clarify the ways in which small-scale organization enhances the learning of some students, particularly those from low-SES communities. This digest contains 10 references. (DHP)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Elementary Secondary Education, Performance Factors, Rural Schools, School District Size, School Effectiveness, School Size, Small Schools, Socioeconomic Status
ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Inc., P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325 (free).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Reports - General; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Policymakers
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.