ERIC Number: ED347006
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Dimensions of Education: Recent Research on School Size. Working Paper Series.
Williams, Davant T.
This paper reviews selected research of the past decade concerning the optimal size of elementary and secondary schools in the United States. By quoting from primary sources, it seeks to present the character, substance, and trend of the school size debate; to identify principal researchers and findings; and to serve as a resource document. Small schools (fewer than 500 students) comprise 62% of U.S. schools and enroll 34% of U.S. students. However, school size is difficult to discuss without considering at least two other dimensions of the education system--class size and school district size. Small class size has become almost synonymous with excellence in education. However, policies that limit class size can result in increases in school size. Consolidation of school districts can also result in larger schools. Recent research indicates that: (1) small schools can be highly effective in providing quality education; (2) large schools may not provide the economies of scale nor the quality of education claimed to justify their largeness; (3) school size tends to be dependent on the influences of class size and district size; (4) school district size is the most significant factor in determining school size; and (5) school size is of particular concern in rural areas, where small schools are prevalent and where proposals for consolidation should be weighed in the context of research findings on the relative effectiveness of small versus large schools. This report contains 30 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Clemson Univ., SC. Strom Thurmond Inst. of Government and Public Affairs.