THE IMPACT OF SMALLER LEARNING COMMUNITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL ON STUDENT PERFORMANCE
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Students continue to fail in large, traditional American high schools (Wood, 1992; Raywid, 1995). The transition from small elementary/intermediate settings to large, impersonal secondary environments forces students to face many difficult challenges. A review of the literature has provided support that the implementation of Small Learning Communities has revealed that students who attend small high schools have better attendance and are more successful academically verses students that attend large high schools (Howley, Strange, & Bickel, 2000). The purpose of this research study was to determine if statistical significant differences exist in students’ attendance and academic achievement as measured by TAKS subject scores for grades nine, ten, and eleventh in ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies between traditional high schools and a high school implementing a Small Learning Communities model. The five campuses that were used for this study came from the forty campus comparison groups report provided by the Texas Education Agency that compares the yearly performance of campuses that share similar characteristics. This study’s research design utilized a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) test to measure for statistical significant differences. Out of the forty-one separate pieces of data reviewed for the three research questions for this study, only three areas of statistical significance were found. The researcher could not substantiate that the SLC model was the sole determining factor that contributed to the three significant results. Based on the quantity of significance found, there is not enough statistical data over the three year period that supports the hypothesis that the implementation of Small Learning Communities impacts student/student groups’ overall academic performance on TAKS testing. Thus no correlation between SLC’s and overall student academic performance on TAKS scores and attendance were found. Further research is needed to determine whether there is a correlation between the SLC model and the performance of student/student groups’ academic performance and attendance in large high schools.