Condron, Dennis, & Roscigno, Vincent J.
Disparities Within: Unequal Spending and Achievement in an Urban School District
Ohio State University
Analyzes variations in spending and achievement among 89 public elementary schools.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Sociology of Education
Vol. 76, No. 1, pp. 18-36
- The authors examine within district variations in spending and achievement to analyze the relationship between educational spending and achievement.
- Variation within spending is linked to patterns of racial and class stratification.
- Fewer local resources are allocated to schools with higher proportions of poor and minority students.
- They examine how spending matters and find that investments in classrooms and schools, more generally, matter for students' engagement.
- Teacher quality is influenced by spending.
- Schools that spend more show higher levels of academic achievement.
- Instructional spending (teachers) and school maintenance spending both positively affect achievement.
- The effects of school maintenance spending are indirect. It matters through its effect on teacher quality, physical conditions, and order/consistency.
- There were no statistically significant bivariate correlations between racial and class composition and either total per-pupil expenditure or instructional per-pupil expenditure.
- As adjusted instructional per-pupil spending increases, so does the percentage of teachers with at least master's degrees.
- A $1,000 increase in local instructional spending per student leads to from about 6 percent to about 10 percent more students passing the proficiency tests.
- If the lowest-spending schools were locally funded at the level of the highest-spending school, the percentage of students passing the tests could increase 24 percent to 40 percent, depending on the test.
- With regard to the mediators, better physical conditions and a higher degree of order/consistency both promote achievement in all measured subject areas.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Classroom Composition, Composition, Funding, Math, Racial Composition, Reading, SES, SES Composition, Science
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- School level data represent 89 public elementary schools in Columbus Public School District. Columbus (pop 700,000) is racially and SES diverse and good urban research setting, generalizable to other urban areas. The district has >65,000 students (57% black, 39% white, 4% other races/ethnicities).
- Statistical data on local expenditures, achievement test results, building/school profiles, school SES composition, and the physical condition are available for each school in the district.
- Data are from the state department of education, the city, and from an independent firm contracted by the district to assess each school.
- DV: academic achievement, measured as the percentage of fourth graders passing state proficiency test in reading, writing, math, science, and citizenship.
- Achievement outcomes were measured for the 1998-99 school year, and the independent variables were measured for the 1998-1999 school year, and the independent variables were measured for the 1996-1997 school year.
- IV: Independent variables are spending, school SES composition (%nonwhite, % FRL eligible), school-level mediators (building physical condition, student attendance rate, teachers education level), and controls (prior achievement and square feet per student).