New Evidence on Class Size Effects: A Pupil Fixed Effects Approach
The impact of class size on student achievement remains a thorny question for educational decision makers.� Meta-analyses of empirical studies emphasise the absence of class-size efects but detractors have argued against such pessimistic conclusions because many of the underlying studies have not paid attention to the endogeneity of class-size.� This paper uses a stringent method to address the endogeneity problem using TIMSS data on 45 countries.� We measure the class size effect by relating the difference in a student's achievement across subjects to the difference in his/her class-size across subjects.� This (subject-differenced) within-pupil achievement production function avoids the problem of the non-random matching of children to specific schools, and to classes within schools.� The results show a statistically significant effect of class size for 16 countries but in only 10 of them is the effect negative, and the effect size is very small in most cases.� Several robustness tests are carried out, including control for students' subject-specific ability and subject-specific teacher characteristics, and correct for possible measurement error.� Thus, our stringent approach to addressing the problem endogeneity confirms the findings of meta-analyses that find little support for class size effects.� We find that class-size effects are smaller in resource-rich countries than in developing countries, supporting the idea that the adverse effect of larger classes increases with class-size.� We also find that class size effects are smaller in regions with higher teacher quality.
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