Class size makes a difference

Princeton NJ -- Smaller classes can help narrow the achievement gap between black and white students and might even aid in reducing crime and teen births, according to a new analysis by two Princeton researchers.

The report by economics professor Alan Krueger and graduate student Diane Whitmore, "Would Smaller Classes Help Close the Black-White Achievement Gap?," which is available online at <www.irs.princeton.edu/pubs/pdfs/451.pdf>, answers its own question: Yes.

In general, students who are enrolled in smaller classes in the early grades have higher test scores both while they are in those grades and when they move on to larger classes, although the edge is reduced in the higher grades. The benefit is even more pronounced for black students. African-Americans who are assigned to a small class for an average of two years between kindergarten and third grade are more likely to take college-entrance exams and have higher scores on those exams than students assigned to large classes in the early years, the study found.

The Princeton study analyzed an experiment known as Project STAR in Tennessee, involving 11,600 elementary students and teachers. Between 1985 and 1989, students were randomly chosen for smaller classes of 13 to 17 students, compared to average classes of 22 to 25 students. The students returned to regular-sized classes in the fourth grade.
 


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May 21, 2001
Vol. 90, No. 28
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Contents

New president
Professor named 19th president
Time is right for Tilghman
Reaction enthusiastic for new leader
Family comes first for new president
Shirley Tilghman bio

Life sciences
Search is on for genomics institute head
Silver: Doubling not necessarily troubling
Landweber tracks changes in genetic code
Virus leaves trail in brain for researchers

Students and alumni
Thesis sparks thriving teacher corps
Recent grad's first novel attracts attention
Student teaching builds bridges
New program preps local students for success

Other news
Merck funds professorship to honor alumnus
Hair colors literary, artistic representations
Class size makes a difference

People
Remaining discretionary funds to increase staff salaries
Doig announces retirement
Barron is new women's hoops coach
Spotlight
Briefs
Thirteen faculty members transfer to emeritus status

Sections
By the numbers: Reunions
Nassau Notes
Calendar of events


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Editor: Ruth Stevens
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