Fifteen Thousand Hours: Secondary Schools and Their Effects on Children

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 1979 - Education - 285 pages

Can a good school help its students overcome the adverse effects of economic disadvantage and family adversity? Recent educational assessment suggests that the answer may be a painful no. Here, however, is a book that contradicts the prevailing pessimism about the possibilities of education. In Fifteen Thousand Hours, Michael Rutter and his colleagues show conclusively that schools can make a difference.

In a three-year study of a dozen secondary schools in a large urban area, Rutter's team found that some schools were demonstrably better than others at promoting the academic and social success of their students. Moreover, there were clear and interesting differences between the schools that promote success and the schools that promote failure. As Rutter shows, these differences provide important clues to the kind of educational reform that might allow inner-city schools to act more uniformly as a positive and protective influence on students who must grow up in an otherwise disordered and difficult world.

For a dozen years during their formative period of development, children spend as many of their working hours at school as at home--some 15,000 hours in all. To suggest that this tremendous amount of time has no effect on development seems irrational. To settle for schools that simply act as institutions of containment for disadvantaged children seems a strategy of despair. The importance of this major book in education is its clear demonstration that these are not the only alternatives.

 

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Contents

Background to the study
22
The schools and the area they serve
30
Research strategy and tactics
43
childrens attendance behaviour
66
associations with
95
associations with outcome
106
Ecological influences
145
Composite analyses of all main variables
163
Appendices
206
B School goals
212
F Observations
230
G Additional tables
238
H Analysis of multiway contingency tables by log linear
246
Attainment at the end of the first year in the sixth form
257
K Comparison between 12 research schools and 8
265
Copyright

speculations and implications
177

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