AUSTIN (AP) – An educational expert says public-school students in smaller classes tend to do better on standardized tests and even eventually become better citizens.

Northwestern University economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach testified Thursday at Texas’ sweeping school finance trial.

She cited a 1970s study involving kindergartners through fourth graders in Tennessee that found that those in smaller class had improved test scores.

As adults, she said, the same kids are more likely to have gone to college, own their own homes and be saving for retirement. They are less likely to have been convicted of a crime.

Whitmore Schanzenbach also noted that steep budget cuts have forced many Texas schools to increase class sizes.

She said that will eventually hurt test scores and may lead to long-term negative life effects for students.

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