Elementary School Size and Differences in Student Progess: A Texas Statewide, Multiyear Investigation
Busby, Amy C.
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The purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to determine the degree to which student enrollment (i.e., school size) at elementary schools was related to student progress on the Texas state-mandated assessments for reading and for mathematics. In the first journal article, the effect of school size on student progress was examined for White, Hispanic, and Black students. In the second study, the extent to which school size was related to the student progress of students who were economically disadvantaged and of students who were at risk was ascertained. In the third investigation, the relationship between school size and student progress for boys and for girls was examined. In each of the three studies, five years of Texas statewide data were examined to ascertain the degree to which trends were present in student progress in reading and in mathematics as a function of their ethnicity/race, economic status, at risk status, and gender. Method For this study, a causal-comparative research design was present. Archival data from the Texas Academic Performance Report for the 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 school years were analyzed. The independent variable was school size: Small-size (i.e., 50-399 students), Moderate-size (i.e., 400-799 students), and Large-size (i.e., 800 or greater students). Dependent variables were the reading progress measures and the mathematics progress measures on the STAAR Reading and Mathematics assessments analyzed separately by ethnicity/race, economic status, at risk status, and gender. Of the 35 statistical analyses conducted on the reading progress measures, 15 analyses had statistically significant differences in which reading progress rates were higher at Large-size schools; three analyses yielded better reading progress rates at Small-size schools; and 17 analyses did not reveal statistically significant results. Of the 28 statistical analyses on mathematics progress rates, 6 had statistically significant results in which mathematics progress rates were higher at Large-size schools; 8 analyses yielded higher mathematics progress rates at Small-size schools; and 14 analyses did not reveal statistically significant differences. Findings were inconsistent across ethnic/racial groups, economic status, at-risk status, and gender.