ERIC Number: ED448968
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Research about School Size and School Performance in Impoverished Communities. ERIC Digest.
Howley, Craig; Strange, Marty; Bickel, Robert
Many experts have endorsed small schools as educationally effective, often adding parenthetically that smaller size is especially beneficial for impoverished students. A recent series of studies, the "Matthew Project," bolsters these claims. This digest reviews recent thinking about small school size, describes the Matthew Project studies, and summarizes findings. Summaries of research on school size make various recommendations on optimal size. Researchers and policy analysts most concerned with "community" tend to recommend the smallest schools for everyone; those concerned with student outcomes advise small schools for some communities; and those concerned with inputs recommend larger sizes. From 1966 to 2000, only 22 research reports addressed the interaction of school size and poverty as a major concern, although poverty typically has a strong negative influence on achievement. The Matthew Project is based on the work of N. Friedkin and J. Necochea (1988), who found that school performance benefited from smaller school size in impoverished California communities and from larger school size in affluent communities. A 1996 replication using West Virginia data found similar results. The Matthew Project pursued the issue in Ohio, Texas, Georgia, and Montana and found remarkably strong and consistent equity effects of size. Across states, the relationship between achievement and socioeconomic status was substantially weaker in smaller schools than larger schools. Findings for each state are discussed. (Contains 11 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Economically Disadvantaged, Educational Research, Effect Size, Elementary Secondary Education, Grade Span Configuration, Interaction, Poverty, School Size, Small Schools, Socioeconomic Influences
ERIC/CRESS, P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325-1348. Tel: 800-624-9120. Full text at Web site: http://www.ael.org/eric/digests/edorc0010.htm.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools, Charleston, WV.