School size effects on achievement in secondary education: evidence from The Netherlands, Sweden and the USA

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    Abstract

    In this article the results of an investigation into the relation between school size and achievement are reported. The findings relate to mathematics achievement in Dutch, Swedish and American secondary education and to science achievement in the Netherlands. The analyses sought to provide an answer to the following questions:

    (1) Is school size related to achievement independently of student background characteristics such as sex, achievement motivation, socio‐economic status and cognitive aptitude? (2) Is the effect of school size related to any of the aforementioned background characteristics? (3) Does the effect of school size on achievement differ between the educational systems of the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA? (4) Is the effect of school size the same for different measures of student achievement (mathematics versus science)?

    It was hypothesized that school size would be most strongly related to achievement in the USA. The analyses, however, revealed little empirical evidence for the existence of school size effects on achievement in any of the three countries, possibly because school size and curriculum comprehensiveness are not strongly related in these countries.

    Because the investigations involved the analysis of five separate datasets, the research outcomes revealed some useful additional information with respect to the robustness of the detected relations between the five covariates and student achievement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-99
    Number of pages25
    JournalSchool effectiveness and school improvement
    Volume5
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1994

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