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ERIC Number: EJ896633
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 33
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1096-2719
Is Small Really Better? Testing Some Assumptions about High School Size
Schneider, Barbara L.; Wyse, Adam E.; Keesler, Venessa
Brookings Papers on Education Policy, p15-47 2006-2007
The case for small schools has been made in educational research since the 1960s, when scholars such as Barker and Gump argued that smaller schools provided students with greater opportunities for participation in various extracurricular activities. The value of small schools was further supported in the 1980s by research on public and private schools that showed that smaller religious schools produced higher graduation rates and lower dropout rates than public schools. Analyses of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 in the 1990s also showed that smaller public schools produced substantial gains in mathematics achievement for high school students. By 2000, the results of those studies were often used as evidence by policymakers and school administrators to support proposals to decrease school size as a strategy for increasing student achievement. However, initial results from small-school reforms have been inconsistent. In light of those results and reviews of earlier work, serious questions are being raised regarding the methodological techniques used to study the effects of school size. The authors examine the effects of high school size using Donald Rubin's methods and conventional hierarchical models. This paper describes the authors' efforts, using observational data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, to approximate an experiment on the effects of school size for student outcomes. The authors offer a different approach to conceptualizing and evaluating school size. They suggest that this study addresses several statistical issues inherent in many previous studies of school size. (Contains 12 tables and 37 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A