A comparison of seleceted indicators of educational outcomes in small and large middle schools in Virginia

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1997

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Virginia Tech

Abstract

Middle school education emerged nationally during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and was emphasized as a requirement for accreditation in the state of Virginia by 1986. This study examined the effect of school size on a set of indicators related to outcome variables from 6-8 configuration middle schools in the state of Virginia. Research suggests that the size of middle schools may be related to school effectiveness. Is there a difference between educational outcomes of small and large middle schools in the state which is related to size?

The study examined seven measures of outcomes to determine if there is a significance difference in the indicators of school success which can be attributed to school size. The study focused on the following seven indicators: The percent of students in grades 6-8 who were absent 10 days or less from school, the percent of 8th grade students who took a foreign language prior to the 9th grade, the percent of minority 8th grade students who took a foreign language prior to the 9th grade, the percent of 8th grade students who took Algebra 1 or Algebra 1, Part 1 prior to the 9th grade, the percent of minority 8th grade students who took Algebra 1 or Algebra 1, Part 1 prior to the 9th grade, the percent of 8th grade students who took the Virginia State Assessment Program standardized tests whose composite scores were above the national 75th percentile, and the percent of 8th grade students who took the Virginia State Assessment Program standardized tests whose composite scores were above the national 50th percentile.

Separate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) tests were used for each indicator of educational outcome. A socioeconomic status index was used as a covariate in all of the tests. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software was utilized for all computations.

The study produced evidence that small middie schools and large middle schools are not significantly different over a range of indicators. In six of the seven indicators compared, small schools were found to not have an advantage over large schools. A significant difference was found between small schools and large schools in the indicator of the percentage of minority 8th grade students taking Algebra 1, or Algebra 1 Part 1 prior to the 9th grade.

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