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School district size and student performance

This paper examines the impact of district size on student academic performance using 1999 school level data provided by the California Department of Education. A production function is estimated, with the California Academic Performance Index (a weighted average of Stanford 9 test scores) as the dependent variable. Controlling for characteristics of the student population and other environmental factors, including class and school size, district size appears to hinder educational achievement, having its biggest impact on middle school student performance. The results from California point toward reducing school district size, along with school and class size at the elementary level, as potentially important to educational reform.

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