Do Minorities Experience Larger Lasting Benefits From Small Classes?

Barbara Nye*, Larry V. Hedges, Spyros Konstantopoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Recent research from randomized experiments on class size points to positive effects of small classes that persist for several years, but the evidence about the social distribution of effects is less clear. Some scholars have contended that the immediate effects of small classes are larger for minorities and for disadvantaged persons (e.g., J. D. Finn & C. M. Achilles, 1990). Those claims have led to policies of class size reduction specifically to reduce inequality in educational outcomes. The authors used data from a 5-year follow-up to Project STAR to investigate whether differential effects of small classes on achievement for minority students persist. A repeated measures analysis suggested that there was a statistically significant, positive differential lasting benefit of 4 years for minorities enrolled in small classes in reading, and a negative differential lasting benefit for girls enrolled in small classes in mathematics over 5 years following the experiment. Thus, it appears that the lasting benefits of 4 years of small classes may reduce racial and ethnic inequality in reading and gender inequality in mathematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


  • Minority students
  • Project STAR
  • Reading and mathematics
  • Small class size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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