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ERIC Number: ED497985
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Aug
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 75
The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools. Rural Trust Policy Brief Series on Rural Education
Jimerson, Lorna
Rural School and Community Trust
Across the country, states are pushing to close their small rural schools with the mistaken hope of saving money, in spite of overwhelming evidence that smaller schools are beneficial for students, and that they frequently function as the glue that binds together small communities, serving as their economic and social hub. The battle is even more illogical, the author contends, when compared with the opposing trend in urban areas, where reform efforts concentrate on breaking down dysfunctionally large schools and forming new, smaller learning communities. To investigate why small works, this report examines current literature, looking for typical attributes of smaller schools that have a positive effect on student learning and well-being. Research indicates the following ten reasons for small schools' effectiveness: (1) There is greater participation in extra-curricular activities, and that is linked to academic success; (2) Small schools are safer; (3) Kids feel they belong; (4) Small class size allows more individualized instruction; (5) Good teaching methods are easier to implement; (6) Teachers feel better about their work; (7) Mixed-ability classes avoid condemning some students to low expectations; (8) Multiage classes promote personalized learning and encourage positive social interactions; (9) Smaller districts mean less bureaucracy; and (10) More grades in one school alleviate many problems of transitions to new schools. (Contains 11 endnotes.)
Rural School and Community Trust. 1530 Wilson Boulevard #240, Arlington, VA 22209. Tel: 703-243-1487; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rural School and Community Trust, Randolph, VT.
IES Cited: ED547990