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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Morris Slate Discussion The focus of this study was the effect of school size on the performance of girls and boys on AP and IB participation and exam performance in Texas for the 2008-2009 school year. In this study, large schools had the highest percentage of both boys and girls taking AP or IB exams and the highest percentage of boys and girls than did either small schools or medium schools. These results differ from Barker and Gump (1964) and Goodlad (1984) who suggested that smaller schools are better than larger schools. However, Greeney (2010) noted similar results in his study of school size and TAKS performance, with larger schools having a higher passing rate than smaller schools. More recently, Zoda, Combs, and Slate (2011) documented higher passing rates on TAKS measures by Black students in larger schools than by Black students in smaller schools. The higher participation rates and passing rates on AP and IB exams may be explained by the economies of scale theoretical framework (Jewell, 1989) previously mentioned. Larger schools might be more able than smaller schools to provide a variety of AP or IB classes and teachers who have more expertise in these specialized courses. Although the effect size for the overall participation rate was small, the number of students impacted and the pattern that developed indicated the need for further study into the effect of school size on student participation on the AP and IB tests. The moderate effect size for the overall performance on AP and IB tests for boys and girls as a function of school size also suggests the need for further study. As documented in Figure 1, the percentage of girls taking AP or IB exams was higher than the percentage of boys taking AP or IB exams regardless of the school size. This finding agreed with Moore and Slate (2008), who also reported that a higher percentage of girls than boys participated in AP courses. The percentage of boys and girls scoring above the criterion was the highest in large schools. As shown in Figure 2, regardless of school size, a higher percentage of girls scored above the criterion than the percentage of boys who scored above the criterion. This result differs from the finding of Moore and Slate (2008) and Morris and Slate (2012), in which a higher percentage of boys than girls scored above the criterion. Important questions remain that need to be addressed in future research studies: (a) Are teacher expectations different for boys and girls in these classes?; (b) What is the impact of school size on the expectations of students and teachers?; and (c) What other influences impact student performance on these tests? Few multiyear studies have been conducted to determine the effect of gender and school size on the participation in and performance on AP and IB tests. Therefore, little information is known about the effect of gender and school size on the performance on AP and IB exams. Results from this study and other studies could be used to inform practice and make curriculum decisions regarding these courses. School leaders may benefit from an analysis of gender differences and school size on the participation in and performance on AP and IB exams as these two programs continue to grow. Given the importance of providing students with a high quality education, more research is needed to determine if programs such as AP and IB are the best method of educating all students. Several cautions are in order lest readers overgeneralize the findings of this study. First, this study is limited to students in Texas who completed AP or IB exams and may not be generalizable to high school students in other states. Second, because students 11 Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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