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Class Size and Student Achievement: Experimental Estimates of Who Benefits and Who Loses from Reductions

  • Weili Ding


    (Queen's University)

  • Steven Lehrer


    (Queen's University)

Class size proponents draw heavily on the results from Project STAR to support their initiatives. Adding to the political appeal of these initiative are reports that minority and economic disadvantaged students receive the largest benefits. To explore and truly understand the heterogeneous impacts of class size and student achievement requires more flexible estimation approaches. We consider several semi and nonparametric strategies and find strong evidence that i) higher ability students gain the most from class size reductions while many low ability students do not benefit from these reductions, ii) there are no significant benefits in reducing class size from 22 to 15 students in any subject area, iii) no additional benefits from class size reductions for minority or disadvantaged students, iv) significant heterogeneity in the effectiveness of class size reductions across schools and in parental and school behavioural responses.

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Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1046.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1046
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  1. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:2:p:497-532 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Alan Krueger, 2000. "Economic Considerations and Class Size," Working Papers 826, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Eric A. Hanushek, . "The Evidence on Class Size," Wallis Working Papers WP10, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:3:p:777-803 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Julie H. Mortimer, 1999. "Predicting the Efficacy of Future Training Programs Using Past Experiences," NBER Technical Working Papers 0238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Educational Production," NBER Working Papers 7349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alan Krueger, 1997. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," Working Papers 758, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Hanushek, Eric A, 1995. "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 227-46, August.
  10. Steven Lehrer & Weili Ding, 2004. "Estimating Dynamic Treatment Effects from Project STAR," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 252, Econometric Society.
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