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View Diary: Paying school teachers $125,000 / year? (99 comments)

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    HeyMikey, jjellin

    The Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) project was a large-scale, four-year, experimental study of reduced class size....funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and conducted by the State Department of Education. Over 7,000 students in 79 schools were randomly assigned into one of three interventions: small class (13 to 17 students per teacher), regular class (22 to 25 students per teacher), and regular-with-aide class (22 to 25 students with a full-time teacher's aide).  Classroom teachers were also randomly assigned to the classes they would teach. The interventions were initiated as the students entered school in kindergarten and continued through third grade....

    "The results of Project STAR show clearly that average pupil performance in the primary years can be increased (with reduced class size) by approximately one fourth to one third of a standard deviation without the introduction of new materials or curricula and without retraining the teachers."  

    In 1996, Health and Education Research Operative Services (HEROS), Incorporated was funded to conduct a tenth grade follow-up study of Project STAR. To be on-schedule during the 1995-1996 school year, Project STAR students would be high school sophomores (10th Grade)....A significantly larger percent of small-class students (52.9%) versus students who had attended regular (49.1%) and regular/aide (48.0%) classes passed the TCE Language requirement at grade 8. The same was true for the mathematics requirement, where 36.4% of the small-class students passed versus 32.3% of the regular class and 30.3% of the regular/aide class students.

    In the 1993-1994 school year, a significantly higher percentage (12 to 19%) of students in regular and regular/aide classes were in lower grades than their counterparts in small classes (about 8%). This difference grew with time. By the 1995-1996 school year, twice the percentage of students who attended regular or regular/aide classes were found in lower grades than their STAR peers who attended small classes.

    In English, math, and science, the students in the small classes outscored their counterparts by over 10 points.

    Students in small classes are more likely to pursue college: STAR students who attended small classes - and black students in that group in particular - were more likely to take the ACT or SAT college entrance exams, according to Princeton University economist Dr. Alan B. Krueger, who researched test data linked to the Project STAR database. "Attendance in small classes appears to have cut the black-white gap in the probability of taking a college-entrance exam by more than half," Krueger said.

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