As we currently deal with school bond proposals it occurred to us that it may be important to determine whether there is an “optimal” school campus size. In our discussions with the Battle Ground Administration they suggested something on the order of 500 would be good. Following is information and our summary:
Research Brief: Feb 2006: Literature Review: The Significance of Elementary School Size: Research Brief They reviewed two studies. One from 1996 and one from 2006.
Their findings: 300-400 students is optimal to improve testing results; student attitudes; student behavior; minority students benefit; teacher attitudes improve
Great Schools: March 2016: How Important is School Size?
Their findings: A 2005 study claimed that small schools produced better results and cost 17% less per student. The term “Small Learing Communities” or “SLC’s” has been coined. A 2005 study funded by the Gates Foundation suggested that SLC’s saw an improvement in language scores but a small decline in math. Denver Colorado tried breaking an 1100 student school into SLC’s but it failed dramatically and was converted back. Curriculum and instruction may be as important as school size. The right size depends on the students and their needs and interests. Conclusion: There is no “right size”.
Primary Schools go Supersize! Article from The Guardian May 2013 – This is for UK schools
Findings: Number of primary schools with more than 1,000 pupils has risen by 60% in past three years. The number of schools with 700 or more pupils amounts to 130 today compared with 80 three years ago. Large schools can offer more subjects and extra-curricular activities.
ASCD: 2002 Report – Small classes, small schools: The time is now
Findings: They claim that class size and school size go hand-in-hand. Smaller can be better. The author, based on their experience, leans toward smaller but does note that larger can do some things better and offer more opportunity and diversity.
The Wing Institute: 2000 to 2006 data summarizing 17 studies – Does School Size Affect Student Performance?
Findings: As schools go past 800 some negative but small (200) not benefit; Socio-Economic Status important; Larger school dropout rate is higher; larger leads to disconnection
- As population has grown schools have gotten larger
- The data is mixed on the right size but it appears that smaller may be better (graduation; test scores; student behavior)
- In our ever-changing complex world keeping students engaged; involved; connected as well as giving them a sense of community is important
- Smaller schools require more schools so where does the money come from?
- Smaller schools require more administration reducing funds for classrooms