ERIC Number: ED397491
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Jan-5
Understanding High School Restructuring Effects on the Equitable Distribution of Learning in Mathematics and Science. Revised.
Lee, Valerie E.; And Others
The call to restructure American education has captured the imagination of reformers across the country, yet it has not produced a coherent agenda for changing schools. This study investigates how the structure of secondary schools affects learning. Using a sample of 9,631 students in 789 U.S. high schools with 3 waves of data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), it extends an earlier study that demonstrated positive effects of high school restructuring not only on learning but also on its equitable distribution by social class. The more recent study addresses two questions: Do the positive effects of restructuring practices persist throughout the high school years? Which organizational attributes contribute to these effects? The study examined achievement in mathematics and science at the 8th, 10th, and 12 grades to answer these questions. Although students learned somewhat less in the last 2 than the first 2 years, the positive effects were sustained throughout high school. More important, particular features of the social, structural, and academic organization of high schools explained the restructuring effects identified in the earlier study. The study identifies larger organizational factors that make some high schools better places in which to learn than others. It recommends that educators and policymakers shrink the bureaucracy; create smaller places within schools (for example, schools-within-schools); develop cooperative social relations within schools; and emphasize academic pursuits. Three tables and six endnotes are included. The appendix explains how the measures used in the study were constructed. (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, Madison, WI.