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Do Small Classes Reduce the Achievement Gap between Low and High Achievers? Evidence from Project STAR

  • Konstantopoulos, Spyros

    ()

    (Michigan State University)

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    Given that previous findings on the social distribution of the effects of small classes have been mixed and inconclusive, in the present study I attempted to shed light on the mechanism through which small classes affect the achievement of low- and high-achieving students. I used data from a 4-year large-scale randomized experiment (project STAR) to examine the effects of small classes on the achievement gap. The sample consisted of nearly 11,000 elementary school students who participated in the experiment from kindergarten to grade 3. Meta-analysis and quantile regression methods were employed to examine the effects of small classes on the achievement gap in mathematics and reading SAT scores. The results consistently indicated that higher-achieving students benefited more from being in small classes in early grades than other students. The findings also indicated that although all types of students benefited from being in small classes, reductions in class size did not reduce the achievement gap between low and high achievers.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp2904.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2904.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2007
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published in: Elementary School Journal, 2008, 108 (3), 1-17
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2904
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    1. Alan Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," Working Papers 758, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Samuel Bowles & Henry M. Levin, 1968. "The Determinants of Scholastic Achievement-An Appraisal of Some Recent Evidence," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 3(1), pages 3-24.
    3. Krueger, Alan B & Whitmore, Diane M, 2001. "The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project STAR," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 1-28, January.
    4. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
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