After reviewing briefly the influence that the ideology of equal educational opportunity has had on the development of public education, the author considers the relationships between the "aggregative characteristics" of schools and the development of individual students attending these schools. In particular, he considers the relevant findings presented in the Coleman Report and in related studies. He discusses several levels at which the Coleman inference with respect to the effect of student body characteristics on academic achievement has been questioned, and uses related studies where possible to eliminate ambiguities. The author concludes by considering the problem of a theoretical rationale adequate to account for the empirical findings of the Coleman study.

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