ERIC Number: ED396880
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Sizing Up Schooling: A West Virginia Analysis and Critique. Dissertation (Synopsis).
Howley, Craig B.
This dissertation synopsis examines the relationship of school size to the achievement of students of varying levels of socioeconomic status in West Virginia and investigates motives for consolidation in this mostly rural state. To control for varying grade-span configurations, size (of school and district) was defined as enrollment per grade level in 1990. Other data included percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price meals; percentage of adults in each county district with less than 12th-grade education; and Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills scores for grades 3, 6, 9, and 11. Multivariate analyses, both at school and district levels, revealed a consistent, statistically significant interaction that replicated results of a similar 1988 California study. Results indicate that in 1990, before the onset of state-enforced consolidation, small schools and districts enhanced the achievement of poor students in West Virginia, whereas large schools and districts enhanced the achievement of affluent students. The negative effects of large size among impoverished schools and districts were twice the magnitude of positive effects of large size for affluent schools and districts. Negative effect sizes were larger at higher grade levels. Drawing on such critical theorists as Eagleton and Habermas, a critique of political economic circumstances in the late 1980s suggests that a crisis of legitimation led the State to take forceful action to restore public confidence, especially the confidence of influential corporations. School consolidation in the name of improved educational efficiency was the rigorous action undertaken. As a result, small schools closed widely, and a disproportionate net loss of schools was suffered in rural locales and less affluent communities. (SV)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia