The long-term effects of small classes in early grades: Lasting benefits in mathematics achievement at grade 9

Barbara Nye, Larry V. Hedges*, Spyros Konstantopoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reducing class size to increase academic achievement is a policy option currently of great interest. Although the results of small-scale randomized experiments and some interpretations of large-scale econometric studies point to positive short-term effects of small classes, some scholars view the evidence as ambiguous. Project STAR in Tennessee-a 4-year, large-scale randomized experiment on the effects of class size—provided persuasive evidence that small classes have immediate positive effects on academic achievement. Unlike most other early education interventions, these effects persisted for several years after the children returned to regular-sized classes. The authors of the present article report analyses of a 6-year follow-up of the students in that experiment. Class-size effects persisted for at least 6 years and remained large enough to be important for educational policy. The results suggest that small classes in early grades have lasting benefits and that those benefits are greater for minority students than for White students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Education
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Class size
  • Long-term effects
  • Longitudinal study
  • Randomized experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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