Date of Award
EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy
Education Leadership, Management and Policy
Luke Stedrak, Ed.D.
Barbara Strobert, Ed.D
Lavetta S. Ross, Ed.D
Adam Angelozzi, Ed.D
College Readiness, College Eligible, New Jersey Public Schools, School Size, Economies of Scale, School Connectedness
According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education & The Southern Regional Education Board (2010), there is a disparity between those who are college-eligible, and those who are actually college-ready. In New Jersey, a large percentage of students who graduate from its public schools are inadequately prepared for the academic rigors of college (NJDOE, 2012; Education Transformation Task Force Initial Report, 2011, p.3).
It has been suggested that school size may affect the parameters that constitute readiness (Moore, 2013). An examination of extent literature revealed that there is not an agreement on whether large schools or small schools best cultivate student readiness. This research seeks to fill that void.
The sample for this study consisted of 314 New Jersey public high schools excluding magnet, charter, alternative, and vocational schools. There were five college and career readiness indicators investigated, including the percentage of students who took the SAT (SAT Participation), the average SAT mathematics performance (SAT Performance), the average percentage of students who achieved College Board SAT benchmark score (Percent SAT Benchmark Achieved), the average Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) participation (AP/IB Participation), and the percent (on average) of students that earned an AP scored of 3 or better or an IB score of 4 or better (AP/IB Benchmark Achieved).
The study was carried out for three consecutive school years (i.e. 2014–2015, 2015–2016 and 2016–2017) to ensure reliability of the results obtained.
A regression analysis was then carried out to understand the relationship between school size and each of the five quantities being considered. ANOVA was then employed to explore the relationship between these sizes and the five variables being considered as indicators of readiness.
This investigation found school size to have a statistically significant effect on SAT Performance, Percent SAT Benchmark Achieved, AP/IB Participation and Percent AP/IB Benchmark Achieved. The only exception to this general result was during the school year 2016–2017, when school size was shown to influence SAT participation as well. The ANOVA also showed that smaller school sizes may be counterproductive for college readiness.
An analysis of the results obtained in this study suggests that school size can have a significant impact on SAT performance, Percent SAT Benchmark Achieved, AP/IB participation and Percent AP/IB Benchmark Achieved. In general, a school size that is greater than 600 students appears to have a positive influence on these parameters. Since these parameters effect readiness, this study demonstrates that readiness is better achieved, on average, in relatively larger schools, that have student populations greater than 600 students, at least for the schools being studied in this thesis.
According to the results obtained, students from New Jersey schools with a larger number of students (i.e. greater than 600) were more likely to be college ready.
Dow, Shae-Brie M., "A Multi-year Study of the Effect of School Size on the College and Career Readiness of New Jersey Public High School Students" (2019). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 2652.