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The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project Star

44 Pages Posted: 21 May 2000  

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Northwestern University - School of Education and Social Policy; NBER

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Date Written: April 2000

Abstract

This paper provides a long-term follow-up of students who participated in the Tennessee STAR experiment. The Tennessee STAR experiment randomly assigned 11,600 elementary school students and their teachers to a small class, regular-size class or regular-size class with a teacher-aide. The experiment began with the wave of students who entered kindergarten in 1985, and lasted for four years. After the third grade, all students returned to regular-size classes. We analyze the effect of past attendance in a small class on standardized test scores through the eighth grade, on whether students took the ACT or SAT college entrance exam, and on how they performed on the ACT or SAT exam. The results suggest that attending a small class in the early grades is associated with somewhat higher performance on standardized test, and an increase in the likelihood that students take a college-entrance exam, especially among minority students. Most significantly, being assigned to a small class appears to have narrowed the black-white gap in college-test taking by 54 percent. A calculation is presented suggesting that the internal rate of return from reducing class size from 22 to 15 students is 5.5 percent.

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Alan B. and Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, The Effect of Attending a Small Class in the Early Grades on College-Test Taking and Middle School Test Results: Evidence from Project Star (April 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7656. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=228130

Alan B. Krueger (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Northwestern University - School of Education and Social Policy ( email )

Evanston, IL
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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