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School District Organization and Student Achievement

Charles E. Bidwell and John D. Kasarda
American Sociological Review
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Feb., 1975), pp. 55-70
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094447
Page Count: 16
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School District Organization and Student Achievement
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Abstract

Using data from 104 school districts in Colorado, this study examines determinants of organizational effectiveness. Five environmental conditions of these districts, three components of district structure and one of staff composition are linked in a causal model to the median reading and mathematics achievement test scores of the districts' high school students. The environmental conditions are size, fiscal resources, percent non-white in the population of the district's community, and the education and income levels of the parental risk population. The measures of district structure are pupil-teacher ratio, administrative intensity and the ratio of supporting professional staff to teachers. The staff composition variable is qualification level of the professional staff. The results indicate that pupil-teacher ratio and administrative intensity depress median levels of achievement; whereas, staff qualifications foster student achievement. Of the environmental conditions, only percent non-white has consistently significant direct effects on median achievement levels. But other environmental conditions (resources especially) have important indirect effects on achievement via their direct effects on school district structure and staff qualifications.

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