Clyde Clinton Pearce, Jr.

An Investigation Into the Relationship of School Size and Program Quality of Public Elementary Schools in Georgia

Study Completed: July 1972

The University of Georgia

Under the direction of Dr. D. M. Smith

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between school size and program quality and to determine whether there was a minimum size for public elementary schools in Georgia that produced better quality educational programs given existing environments and constraints. A two-phase approach was used to determine the effect of school size upon program quality. Phase I included the identification and selection of 87 criteria from the 1968 Standards for Public Schools of Georgia which were used as quality indicators in the study. The nine areas of criteria included organization, administration, teaching staff, resource staff, school plant, library, school food service, interscholastic activities and curriculum. Phase II included the application of the selected criteria to 587 elementary schools containing grades 1-7. These schools were divided into ten groups (categorized by size). The results of the application were analyzed as a basis for recommending minimum size elementary schools. Data were analyzed by using a chi-square comparison of affirmative responses by size groups as well as a comparison through use of graphs which were prepared for each indicator. A cumulative frequency table was compiled to show the minimum elementary school sizes which were not disadvantaged by discriminating program indicators.

Hypotheses: Two hypotheses were formulated for this study and are shown below.

1. The frequency of occurrence of a specific program quality indicator in the public elementary schools of Georgia will differ significantly in relation to the size of the school.

2. The frequency of occurrence of a specific program quality indicator will be less for the smaller elementary schools than for medium and larger sized elementary schools.

Findings and Conclusions:

Schools of less than 300 enrollment were found to be at a disadvantage in the frequency of program quality indicators.

This parallels Teet's study which indicated that the minimum size for elementary schools should range between 200-299 pupils, while the optimum size should be 600-699 (Teets, Louis Edward (1956). "Relationships in Elementary Schools Between Size, Per Pupil Cost, and Extent of Educational Opportunity." Unpublished Doctoral dissertarion, University of Florida, University microfilm 56-3780.)

The 87 quality indicators used in this study were rated by a selected jury. The jury of elementary education experts were asked to identify indicators which would discriminate between a "good" or a "poor"quality school program. Thus, the jurors indicated their response with a "yes"or "no" in order to confirm those indicators they felt were indicative of quality in the elementary school program. Following the rating, a weighted strength was calculated for each quality indicator. The scale consisted of 4 to 5 (a strong quality indicator), 3 to 4 (an average quality indicator), and 1 to 3, which represented a weak quality indicator.

Of the 87 quality indicators focused on in this study, 42 indicators had significant chi-squared values. The following indicators related to the actual school plant(facility):

Indicator #4: The school has a functional master antenna system for ETV. (Weighted strength was 3.53--average)

Indicator #24: Rest-room space and facilities are scaled appropriately for the grade level assigned. (Weighted strength was 2.73--average)

Indicator #42: A separate music room is provided for instrumental and choral music, with adequate space for the storage of sheet music and instruments and minor maintenance. (Weighted strength was 3.51-- average)

Indicator #60: Display space for both two and three dimensional art work is located throughout the school areas. (Weighted strength was 2.99--Below average)

Indicator #78: The remedial reading program is housed in specially equipped laboratory space. (Weighted strength was 3.12--average)

Indicator #43: The school has a library (media center) which is used throughout the day for library purposes. (Weighted strength was 4.15- Strong)

Indicator #88: Adequate space in the library area is available for housing audio-visual materials and equipment. (Weighted strength was 3.21--average)

This summary was compiled by Elizabeth Jago and Ken Tanner

Posted: (January 1999).


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