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The Influence of Scale on School Performance: A Multi Level Extension of the Matthew Principle

Abstract

This study builds on "a line of evidence that has related the size of both districts and schools to aggregate student achievement."


Abstract: "In this study, we investigate the joint influence of school and district size on school performance among schools with eighth grades (n=367) and schools with eleventh grades in Georgia (n=298). Schools are the unit of analysis in this study because schools are increasingly the unit on which states fix the responsibility to be accountable. The methodology further develops investigations along the line of evidence suggesting that the influence of size is contingent on socioeconomic status (SES)...

Findings from this study show substantial cross-level influences of school and district size at the 8th grade, and weaker influences at the 11th grade. The equity effects, however, are strong at both grade levels and show a distinctive pattern of size interactions. Results are interpreted to draw implications for a "structuralist" view of school and district restructuring, with particular concern for schooling to serve impoverished communities. The authors argue the importance of a notion of "scaling" in the system of schooling, advocating the particular need to create smaller districts as well as smaller schools as a route to both school excellence and equity of school outcomes."

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