An increasingly prominent approach to school reform emphasizes the possible benefits of creating smaller schools. Proponents argue that small schools are more effective than large schools at promoting student achievement, in large part because they have positive effects on the engagement and social interactions of students and staff. The analysis presented here explores another potentially distinct effect of small schools: the enhanced involvement of students’ parents in the school and the promotion of social capital in the larger community. We present new empirical evidence on whether the size of public high schools influences measures of parental involvement and social capital. This analysis is based on nationally representative data from the base year of the recent Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002). In addition to conducting standard multivariate analyses, we attempt to establish bounds on the causal effects of school size by using the differences in observed traits across parents connected to smaller and larger schools as a guide to the size and direction of their potentially confounding unobserved traits.
The effects of school size on parental involvement and social capital: Evidence from the ELS: 2002
Year of Publication:2007
Publisher:Brookings Institution Press
(2007). The effects of school size on parental involvement and social capital: Evidence from the ELS: 2002. . Brookings Institution Press.