Most of these articles are from academic journals. Therefore they are technical in nature, but are still accessible and understandable to non-specialists like me. My advice: read the introduction and the conclusion. Skim the rest. Don’t get scared off by the math & statistics.
1. Class Size and Student Achievement (Ehrenberg, Brewer, Gamoran, Williams – 2001)
Bob’s simple summary: Evidence is mixed on whether or not smaller class sizes improve academic achievement. And reducing class sizes is a very expensive intervention. However, there are many other interventions that seem to consistently improve student performance (like raising teacher quality) but are much less costly. These are the interventions that policy makers should pursue.
2. Causality, Causality, Causality – The veiw of Education Inputs and Outputs from Economics (Barrow, Rouse, 2005)
Bob’s simple summary: The authors examine the causal relationship between school inputs and student outcomes, including school spending, class size, teacher quality, length of the school year, and technology. They find that teacher quality and additional school spending appear to cause improvement in student achievement. Smaller class sizes may help, but only among lower income communities. And studies have failed to link longer school years or classroom technology to any improvement in student achievement.