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ERIC Number: EJ896636
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 37
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1096-2719
Optimal Context Size in Elementary Schools: Disentangling the Effects of Class Size and School Size
Ready, Douglas D.; Lee, Valerie E.
Brookings Papers on Education Policy, p99-135 2006-2007
Young children's learning--and how their learning is distributed by social background--may be influenced by the structural and organizational properties of their school. This study focuses on one important structural dimension of these educational contexts: "size." This study differs from extant studies linking size to student outcomes in four important respects. First, the authors focus on elementary school size. Second, they conceptualize the size of educational contexts quite broadly, focusing on the relative impacts of class size and school size, while simultaneously accounting for grade span. Third, they explore the effects of these structural characteristics of elementary schools on both learning and the equitable distribution of that learning by children's social background, particularly race or ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Fourth, their research design provides considerable methodological leverage with which to disentangle the confounding effects on student learning of student background and the size of elementary school contexts. In this study, the authors employ data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K). They also employ hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) within a three-level growth-curve framework. They present both descriptive and multivariate results. Their descriptive results provide information about both children and schools, organized by the size of their classes and schools. They also present their within-school and between-school multivariate and multilevel HLM results separately. Their within-school results describe the relationships between child-level characteristics and student learning. Their between-school models explore the effects of elementary school organizational size on student learning. The results suggest robust class-size effects, net of school size, the types of students enrolled, and other school-level characteristics; the effects of both class size and school size are estimated in the same models. That is, the class-size effects the authors report here are independent of school size, and vice versa. In this study, the authors find that organizational size--of both classes and schools--influences children's learning in literacy and mathematics in both kindergarten and first grade. (Contains 5 figures, 4 tables, and 40 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A