IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecoedu/v27y2008i2p221-233.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The effects of class size on student grades at a public university

Author

Listed:
  • Kokkelenberg, Edward C.
  • Dillon, Michael
  • Christy, Sean M.

Abstract

We model how class size affects the grade higher education students earn and we test the model using an ordinal logit with and without fixed effects on over 760,000 undergraduate observations from a northeastern public university. We find that class size negatively affects grades for a variety of specifications and subsets of the data, as well as for the whole data set from this school. The specifications tested hold constant for academic department, peer effects (relative ability in class), student ability, level of student, level of course, gender, minority status, and other factors. Average grade point declines as class size increases, precipitously up to class sizes of twenty, and more gradually but monotonically through larger class sizes. The evidence is that this is not exclusively a small class effect. We conclude that there are diseconomies of scale associated with a deterioration of student outcomes as class sizes grow larger. The cost of this deterioration is not quantifiable with our data, as much of the costs are non-market costs and unobservable. Future studies of economies of scale in higher education need to address the traditional assumption of constant product quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Kokkelenberg, Edward C. & Dillon, Michael & Christy, Sean M., 2008. "The effects of class size on student grades at a public university," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 221-233, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:221-233
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272-7757(07)00027-1
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kennedy, Peter E. & Siegfried, John J., 1997. "Class size and achievement in introductory economics: Evidence from the TUCE III data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 385-394, October.
    2. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    3. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects of Class Size on Student Achievement: New Evidence from Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285.
    5. Kennedy, Peter E. & Siegfried, John J., 1996. "On the optimality of unequal class sizes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 299-304, March.
    6. Alan B. Krueger, 2003. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 34-63, February.
    7. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, September.
    8. Akerhielm, Karen, 1995. "Does class size matter?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 229-241, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Zamira Hyseni-Duraku, 2014. "Class Size: Teaching Quality and Students? level of Satisfaction with their Academic Performance," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 0100935, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    2. Piolatto, Amedeo, 2010. "Education and selective vouchers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 993-1004, December.
    3. Kedagni, Desire & Krishna, Kala & Megalokonomou, Rigissa & Zhao, Yingyan, 2021. "Does class size matter? How, and at what cost?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    4. Kara, Elif & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2021. "Class size effects in higher education: Differences across STEM and non-STEM fields," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    5. Timothy M. Diette & Manu Raghav, 2014. "A Student’s Dilemma: Is There a Traoff-off Between a Higher Salary or Higher GPA," Working Papers 2014-01, DePauw University, Department of Economics and Management.
    6. By Vincenzo Carrieri & Marcello D’Amato & Roberto Zotti, 2015. "On the causal effects of selective admission policies on students’ performances: evidence from a quasi-experiment in a large Italian university," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 1034-1056.
    7. 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.
    8. Lusher, Lester & Campbell, Doug & Carrell, Scott, 2018. "TAs like me: Racial interactions between graduate teaching assistants and undergraduates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 203-224.
    9. Salvador Contreras & Frank Badua & Mitchell Adrian, 2012. "Peer Effects on Undergraduate Business Student Performance," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 11(1), pages 57-66.
    10. Alessio Gaggero & Getinet Haile, 2020. "Does class size matter in postgraduate education?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 88(3), pages 489-505, June.
    11. Tisha L. N. Emerson & Linda K. English & KimMarie McGoldrick, 2018. "The High Costs of Large Enrollment Classes: Can Cooperative Learning Help?," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 455-474, June.
    12. Cheng, Dorothy A., 2011. "Effects of class size on alternative educational outcomes across disciplines," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 980-990, October.
    13. Saavedra, Anna Rosefsky & Saavedra, Juan Esteban, 2011. "Do colleges cultivate critical thinking, problem solving, writing and interpersonal skills?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1516-1526.
    14. repec:dew:wpaper:2014-02 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. A.O. Karas, 2019. "The Effect of Class Size on Grades and Course Evaluations: : Evidence from Multi-section Courses," Working Papers 19-03, Utrecht School of Economics.
    16. Wayne A Grove x & Stephen Wu, 2011. "Factors Influencing Student Performance in Economics: Class and Instructor Characteristics," Chapters, in: Gail M. Hoyt & KimMarie McGoldrick (ed.), International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 33, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Mandel, Philipp & Süssmuth, Bernd, 2011. "Size matters. The relevance and Hicksian surplus of preferred college class size," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1073-1084, October.
    18. Gillani, Abbas A., 2021. "The association between presence of sanitation facilities and school enrolment in Pakistan," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 21(C).
    19. Mohammed Ibrahim Aldaghir, 2018. "Do Morning Classes Improve Student Learning of Microeconomics Principles?," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 24(2), pages 163-177, May.
    20. CARRIERI, Vincenzo & D'AMATO, Marcello & ZOTTI, Roberto, 2013. "Selective Admission Tests and Students' Performances. Evidence from a Natural Experiment in a Large Italian University," CELPE Working Papers 0/00, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    21. Kokkelenberg, Edward C. & Sinha, Esha, 2010. "Who succeeds in STEM studies? An analysis of Binghamton University undergraduate students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 935-946, December.
    22. Chingos, Matthew M., 2012. "The impact of a universal class-size reduction policy: Evidence from Florida's statewide mandate," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 543-562.
    23. James Andreoni & Andy Brownback, 2014. "Grading on a Curve, and other Effects of Group Size on All-Pay Auctions," NBER Working Papers 20184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Wo[ss]mann, Ludger & West, Martin, 2006. "Class-size effects in school systems around the world: Evidence from between-grade variation in TIMSS," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 695-736, April.
    2. Ma, Lingjie & Koenker, Roger, 2006. "Quantile regression methods for recursive structural equation models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 471-506, October.
    3. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Gradstein, Mark & Reuven, Ehud, 2013. "Allocation of students in public schools: Theory and new evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 96-106.
    4. Ludger Wößmann, 2003. "European education production functions: what makes a difference for student achievement in Europe?," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 190, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    5. West, Martin R. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2006. "Which school systems sort weaker students into smaller classes? International evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 944-968, December.
    6. Babcock, Philip & Bedard, Kelly & Schulte, Jennifer, 2012. "No cohort left behind?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 347-354.
    7. Margaret Stevens & Kathryn Graddy, 2003. "The Impact of School Inputs on Student Performance: An Empirical Study of Private Schools in the United Kingdom," Economics Series Working Papers 146, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. Hanushek, Eric A. & Luque, Javier A., 2003. "Efficiency and equity in schools around the world," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 481-502, October.
    9. Denny, Kevin & Oppedisano, Veruska, 2013. "The surprising effect of larger class sizes: Evidence using two identification strategies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 57-65.
    10. Cho, Hyunkuk & Glewwe, Paul & Whitler, Melissa, 2012. "Do reductions in class size raise students’ test scores? Evidence from population variation in Minnesota's elementary schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 77-95.
    11. Graddy, Kathryn & Stevens, Margaret, 2003. "The Impact of School Inputs on Student Performance: An Empirical Study of Private Schools in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3776, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Peter Fredriksson & Björn Öckert & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2013. "Long-Term Effects of Class Size," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 249-285.
    13. Argaw, Bethlehem A. & Puhani, Patrick A., 2018. "Does class size matter for school tracking outcomes after elementary school? Quasi-experimental evidence using administrative panel data from Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 48-57.
    14. Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Educational Production in East Asia: The Impact of Family Background and Schooling Policies on Student Performance," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 331-353, August.
    15. Justman, Moshe, 2018. "Randomized controlled trials informing public policy: Lessons from project STAR and class size reduction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 167-174.
    16. Hægeland, Torbjørn & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2012. "Pennies from heaven? Using exogenous tax variation to identify effects of school resources on pupil achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 601-614.
    17. Mueller, Steffen, 2013. "Teacher experience and the class size effect — Experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 44-52.
    18. Thomas Dee & Martin West, 2008. "The Non-Cognitive Returns to Class Size," NBER Working Papers 13994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Marie Connolly & Catherine Haeck, 2018. "Le lien entre la taille des classes et les compétences cognitives et non cognitives," CIRANO Project Reports 2018rp-18, CIRANO.
    20. Simone Dobbelsteen & Jesse Levin & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2002. "The causal effect of class size on scholastic achievement: distinguishing the pure class size effect from the effect of changes in class composition," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(1), pages 17-38, February.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:221-233. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.