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Class size effects on student achievement: heterogeneity across abilities and fields

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  • Maria De Paola
  • Michela Ponzo
  • Vincenzo Scoppa

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze class size effects on college students exploiting data from a project offering special remedial courses in mathematics and language skills to freshmen enrolled at an Italian medium-sized public university. To estimate the effects of class size, we exploit the fact that students and teachers are virtually randomly assigned to teaching classes of different sizes. From our analysis, it emerges that controlling for a number of individual characteristics, larger classes determine a significant and sizeable negative effect on student performance in mathematics. Importantly, this negative effect is significantly larger for low-ability students and negligible for high-ability ones. On the other hand, class size effects do not appear to be relevant for student achievement in language skills.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/09645292.2010.511811
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Education Economics.

Volume (Year): 21 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 135-153

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Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:21:y:2013:i:2:p:135-153

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References

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  1. Woessmann, Ludger & West, Martin R., 2002. "Class-Size Effects in School Systems Around the World: Evidence from Between-Grade Variation in TIMSS," IZA Discussion Papers 485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," NBER Working Papers 8875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. De Paola, Maria & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2009. "Effects of Class Size on Achievement of College Students," MPRA Paper 16945, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Jonah E. Rockoff, 2004. "The Impact of Individual Teachers on Student Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 247-252, May.
  6. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 1998. "Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement," NBER Working Papers 6691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marte Rønning & Edvin Leuven & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2008. "Quasi-experimental estimates of the effect of class size on achievement in Norway," Working Paper Series 9308, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  9. Oriana Bandiera & Valentino Larcinese & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Heterogeneous Class Size Effects: New Evidence from a Panel of University Students," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1365-1398, December.
  10. Eric A. Hanushek, 2002. "Publicly Provided Education," NBER Working Papers 8799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  12. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  13. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Brunello, Giorgio & De Paola, Maria, 2013. "The Costs of Early School Leaving in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 7791, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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