Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reducing Class Size May Be More Cost-effective Than Most Medical Interventions

Date:
October 17, 2007
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Reducing the number of students per classroom in US primary schools may be more cost-effective than most public health and medical interventions, according to a new study. The study indicates that class-size reductions would generate more quality-adjusted life-year gains per dollar invested than the majority of medical interventions.

Reducing the number of students per classroom in U.S. primary schools may be more cost-effective than most public health and medical interventions, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Virginia Commonwealth University.

Related Articles


The study indicates that class-size reductions would generate more quality-adjusted life-year gains per dollar invested than the majority of medical interventions. The findings will be published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The researchers estimated the health and economic effects of reducing class sizes from 22--25 students to 13--17 students in kindergarten through grade 3 nationwide, based on an intervention tested in Project STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Ratio), a large multi-school randomized trial that began in 1985. Project STAR is considered the highest quality long-term experiment to date in the field of education.

The study shows that a student graduating from high school after attending smaller-sized classes gains an average of 1.7 quality-adjusted life-years and generates a net $168,431 in lifetime revenue. "Higher earnings and better job quality enhance access to health insurance coverage, reduce exposure to hazardous work conditions, and provide individuals and families with the necessary resources to move out of unfavorable neighborhoods and to purchase goods and services," says Peter A. Muennig, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School. "Regardless of class size, the net effect of graduating from high school is roughly equivalent to taking 20 years of bad health off of your life."

When targeted to low-income students, the estimated savings would increase to $196,000 per additional graduate. "This is because low-income students seem to benefit more from the additional attention afforded by small classes," noted Dr. Muennig. "Because we focused on a relatively expensive intervention and examined outcomes over a range of values, our results should provide a conservative framework for evaluating this and other interventions as long-term data on educational interventions become more plentiful," he commented.

The performance of students in the U.S. has been declining relative to the performance of students in other countries. With health costs soaring and student performance falling, the United States is in jeopardy of losing its economic dominance.

The findings not only raise issues of whether investments in social determinants of health can be more cost-effective than investments in conventional medical care, "but more intriguing still, also bring up the idea that each dollar invested in education could also potentially produce other long-term returns," observes Dr. Muennig. He notes that further analysis will refine models and produce more-precise estimates, but "these findings do point to the importance of looking more broadly at the options available for improving health outcomes--including those outside the boundaries of clinical medicine."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Reducing Class Size May Be More Cost-effective Than Most Medical Interventions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071016131350.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2007, October 17). Reducing Class Size May Be More Cost-effective Than Most Medical Interventions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071016131350.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Reducing Class Size May Be More Cost-effective Than Most Medical Interventions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071016131350.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins