ERIC Number: ED464793
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-May
Reference Count: N/A
Resisting the Urge To Merge: Does School Size Matter?
Roeder, Phillip W.
Some previous research has found that smaller schools perform at higher levels than larger schools and reduce the negative effects of poverty on school performance. This paper analyzes the effects of school size on four measures of school performance in elementary schools in Fayette County, Kentucky; elementary schools in Fayette and Jefferson Counties (the two largest school districts in the state); and all schools in the two county districts. Multivariate models for elementary schools in the two districts find that size and size interacting with poverty have no effect on school performance; instead, poverty is the major determinant of performance. Looking at all schools in the two districts again finds that smaller school size does not reduce the negative effects of poverty on performance. Instead, poverty remains a substantial determinant of performance; performance varies significantly by school type (elementary, middle, or high school); and the interaction of poverty with elementary schools is significant for several measures of performance. The findings suggest that if policymakers wish to improve the performance of urban/suburban schools, focusing on school size does not appear to offer answers. Disputes over school mergers or consolidations may be costly diversions from the more important issues of disadvantage and equal opportunity in education. Policymakers in urban/suburban districts with many schools and diverse neighborhoods should consider drawing attendance boundaries to distribute poor children more equitably across schools, regardless of school size. (Contains 12 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Attendance, Economically Disadvantaged, Elementary Schools, Elementary Secondary Education, High Schools, Middle Schools, Poverty, School Size, Small Schools, Socioeconomic Influences, Urban Schools
For full text: http://www.uky.edu/~proeder/urbschlsize.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A