ERIC Number: ED414099
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Small Schools--A Reform That Works. An Occasional Paper of the Small Schools Coalition.
Raywid, Mary Anne
This booklet addresses three questions about small schools, commonly posed by skeptics: "What do we really know about small schools?" What is there to recommend them?" and "Can we explain their track record?" With regard to the first question, large-scale studies compared the records of 300 students in 8 small New York schools prior to and after entrance; examined the records of 20,000 students in Philadelphia's public high schools, comparing small- and large-school student performance; and examined the test scores of 13,000 students in Alaska. Other studies involved nearly 12,000 students in 800 high schools nationwide. These studies consistently found that small-school students did better academically than did large-school students, and this was particularly the case for disadvantaged students; that size had more influence on student achievement than any other factor controllable by educators; and that the impact of size held at all grade levels, from elementary through high school. Besides positive effects on student achievement, small schools have much else to recommend them: at-risk students are more likely to achieve, there is less violence in school, students display more social concern, and dropout rates are reduced. This track record can be explained by small size, a nonconventional organizational structure, and a setting that operates more like a community than a bureaucracy. Smallness permits and invites a number of practices and arrangements recommended by educational research. Contains references in endnotes. (TD)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Educational Benefits, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, High Risk Students, Outcomes of Education, School Community Relationship, School Effectiveness, School Restructuring, School Size, Small Schools
ASCD, 1250 N. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Chicago, IL.; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.
Authoring Institution: Small Schools Coalition, Chicago, IL.