School size and academic performance of Texas secondary public school students

Jesus Jose Chavez, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

School size has been considered to be an important variable in student academic performance since the 1950s (Conant, 1959). Significant foundation work has been established regarding the relationship that exists between school size and student academic performance. Researchers have found relationships, albeit inconsistent in nature, between school size and student achievement and school climate (Conant, 1967; Haller, 1992; Martin, 1998; Sybouts & Bartling, 1988). That is, in some studies students have been found to perform better in small schools whereas in other studies students have been found to perform better in large schools. ^ Because schools are increasing in enrollment size as a result in population growth and/or school reorganization, the phenomenon of increased school size merits further investigation. This investigation needs to occur on multiple dependent variables and on an adequate sample size of schools. ^ The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of secondary school size on student academic performance in the state of Texas. These relationships were examined separately for White, for African-American, and for Hispanic students. Student performance consisted of: Reading, Math, Writing on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS); end-of-course exams in Algebra I, Biology, English II, and U.S. History; ACT and SAT I average scores; dropout rates, completion rates, and attendance rates. These relationships were examined separately for the last three years of data available (1999–2000; 1998–1999; 1997–1998) on all traditionally configured high schools in Texas for which data were provided from the Texas Education Agency. ^ Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) statistical procedures were conducted to determine the relationship that existed between school size and student academic performance for each grouping of dependent variables separately by ethnic membership. Whenever the MANOVA procedure resulted in reduced sample sizes, separate univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistical procedures were conducted for individual dependent variables. ^ Numerous statistically significant findings were yielded in this study, with effect sizes ranging from small to large. Secondary school students, regardless of ethnicity, in the State of Texas had significantly higher performance on the TAAS, end-of-course exams, and on the ACT and SAT I in the large size schools than in the small size schools. Secondary school students, regardless of ethnicity, in the State of Texas had significantly higher attendance and graduation rates in small schools than in large schools. ^ These findings replicate and extend the existing literature in that the performance of each ethnic group was examined separately and that student academic performance was measured in several different ways. Clearly school size is related to student academic performance, however, the relationship appears to be complex. Recommendations for further research and for policy makers and for practitioners were provided. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

Chavez, Jesus Jose, "School size and academic performance of Texas secondary public school students" (2002). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3049697.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3049697

Share

COinS