High risk, low return: The achievement effects of restructuring in disadvantaged schools

Roger C. Shouse, Lawrence J. Mussoeine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Studies of school 'restructuring' have linked the concept to a specific normative agenda of organizational and instructional practices (such as individualized or small-group instruction, heterogeneous grouping, and team teaching). Though a number of theoretical and empirical studies point to the positive direct and indirect effects of these practices on student achievement, they tend to overlook a body of prior work suggesting that students in disadvantaged schools tend to benefit academically from more traditional types of arrangements. Tracing and building upon this literature, this study examines the impact of 'restructuring' on mathematics achievement among students attending a sample of socioeconomically disadvantaged schools. After controlling for salient student background characteristics, our study found no significant difference in math achievement levels between nonrestructured schools and schools that had been restructured for at least three years. However, significantly lower levels of math achievement were found among schools that had been 'restructured' for less than three years. We argue that these findings reflect the fact that the high complexity associated with many 'restructured' practices pose special problems and risks for disadvantaged schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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