One question posed continually over the past century of education research is to what extent school resources affect student outcomes. From the turn of the century to the present, a diverse set of actors, including politicians, physicians, and researchers from a number of disciplines, have studied whether and how money that is provided for schools translates into increased student achievement. The authors discuss the historical origins of the question of whether school resources relate to student achievement, and report the results of a meta-analysis of studies examining that relationship. They find that policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders have addressed this question using diverse strategies. The way the question is asked, and the methods used to answer it, is shaped by history, as well by the scholarly, social, and political concerns of any given time. The diversity of methods has resulted in a body of literature too diverse and too inconsistent to yield reliable inferences through meta-analysis. The authors suggest that a collaborative approach addressing the question from a variety of disciplinary and practice perspectives may lead to more effective interventions to meet the needs of all students.
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