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Experimental estimates of the impacts of class size on test scores: robustness and heterogeneity

  • Weili Ding
  • Steven Lehrer

Proponents of class size reductions (CSRs) draw heavily on the results from Project Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio to support their initiatives. Adding to the political appeal of these initiative are reports that minority and economically disadvantaged students received the largest benefits from smaller classes. We extend this research in two directions. First, to address correlated outcomes from the same class size treatment, we account for the over-rejection of the Null hypotheses by using multiple inference procedures. Second, we conduct a more detailed examination of the heterogeneous impacts of CSRs on measures of cognitive and non-cognitive achievement using more flexible models. We find that students with higher test scores received greater benefits from CSRs. Furthermore, we present evidence that the main effects of the small class treatment are robust to corrections for the multiple hypotheses being tested. However, these same corrections lead the differential impacts of smaller classes by race and free-lunch status to become statistically insignificant.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09645292.2011.589142
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Education Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 229-252

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Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:19:y:2011:i:3:p:229-252
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