UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of secondary consolidation upon achievement in fundamentals and unit cost Andrews, John Hobart Maclean


Since large administrative districts were established in British Columbia in 1945, the "revolution of consolidation" has been virtually completed. The present study analyzes the effects of this movement of consolidation upon pupil achievement in the fundamental subjects and per pupil cost in the secondary schools of School District No. 20. The study begins with a survey of pertinent literature. Studies relating the two factors "size of school", and "general quality of education" are reported to favour the large school overwhelmingly. When "size of school" and actual "achievement" are related, however, the result is found to be varied with approximately half the studies favouring the large school and the other half finding no significant difference. It is noted that most of the latter studies are more closely controlled than the former. Studies relating the factors "size of school" and "cost per pupil" are also shown to be conflicting. Slightly more than half of these find the large school to be the more economical. The others find the reverse, but many of the latter point out that where such is the case the large school is offering a higher quality of education. The achievement aspect of the present study proceeded by measuring the achievement of 308 transported students of the consolidated secondary school and 94 students of small rural secondary schools. A group of 117 non-transported students of the consolidated school served as a control. The measuring device used was the Progressive Achievement Battery. The numbers shown are those remaining after the groups were matched on the basis of intelligence, socio-economic status, and percentage grade composition. The principal statistical technique employed in the analysis of data was the standard error of the difference for matched groups and the t-test for significance. The financial study proceeded by a determination of the cost per pupil figures for current, capital, and total expenditures representing the transported students of the consolidated school and the secondary students of the small rural schools. All transportation expenditures of the consolidated school were charged to the transported students. The study found that there was no significant difference in achievement on fundamentals between the transported students of the consolidated school and those of the small rural schools. Individual grade comparisons showed, however, a tendency toward superior achievement of the transported consolidated over the rural pupils in the senior grades. The total rural school cost per pupil was found to be approximately two-thirds that of the consolidated school when transportation costs were included in the latter. It was concluded that although the study did not show a marked superiority of the consolidated school in achievement, it did indicate at least its equality with the small rural schools. Since achievement in fundamentals is more nearly the main emphasis of the rural school than it is of the consolidated comprehensive school even equality in this area was held to be a notable accomplishment of the consolidated school. It was further concluded that two-thirds of the expenditure of the consolidated school was justified on the basis of equality in achievement with the rural school, whether or not the remaining third was justified as paying for the other emphases of the comprehensive programme was left for further research in that area.

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