How Effective is Schooling?

A Critical Review and Synthesis of Research Findings

by Harvey A. Averch, Stephen J. Carroll, Theodore S. Donaldson, Herbert J. Kiesling, John A. Pincus


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Analyzes and summarizes educational research for the President's Commission on School Finance under the input-output, process, organizational, evaluation, and experiential approaches. Individual studies were examined for internal and inter-study validity and results of previous reviews were considered. Five sets of results were combined to draw overall conclusions. Research has not yet identified a variant of the existing system that is consistently related to educational outcomes. The larger the school system, the less likely it is to innovate. Improvement in student outcomes may require sweeping changes in educational experience; however, no prescription seems clearly able to solve all the problems. Increasing expenditure using existing educational methods is not likely to improve outcomes substantially, and opportunities may exist for redirections and reductions in expenditures without deterioration in outcomes. Future research issues include learning outside the school, interactions, alternative forms of education, outcomes over time and on many dimensions, a merging of approaches, and cost implications.

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