Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
We look at both sides of the issue. Common sense suggests that public school children will do better in smaller classes than in larger classes. Smaller class sizes provide the opportunity for personal attention and additional instructional help when necessary. Yet, whether smaller class sizes boost academic achievement has been examined in numerous studies with mixed results.
This article examines how class size affects academic performance, where smaller class size can have the greatest impact, and how some critics question the benefits and cost effectiveness of class size reduction. The following are some of the benefits of fewer students in a classroom.
Students receive more individualized attention and interact more with the teacher. Teachers have more flexibility to use different instructional approaches.
Fewer students are less distracting to each other than a large group of children. Teachers have more time to teach because there are fewer discipline problems.
Students are more likely to participate in class and become more involved. Teachers have more time to cover additional material and use more supplementary texts and enrichment activities. As a practical matter, it is not possible for most public schools to hire enough teachers so that all classes in grades kindergarten through 12th grade have no more than, for example, 18 students.
Given finite resources to hire new teachers, judgments have to be made about where the additional teachers should be placed. The study was conducted with a controlled group of 10, students. Classes of 22 through 26 were reduced to 13 through 17 students.
In addition, the schools in the study had an adequate number of quality teachers and adequate classroom space. The project found that smaller classes resulted in substantial increases in academic performance of children in primary grades, particularly for poor and minority children.
Photo via Wikipedia Commons Based on the STAR project and other studies confirming its results, class size reduction is most effective when: The benefits of smaller classrooms depend on a teacher-student ratio of around 1 to 15 through Reducing class size from, for example, 28 to 25 students shows no significant advantage.
This survey involved more than 5, educators across the U. Responders to the survey said the average class size currently is 23 students. However, these same educators put an optimally-sized classroom between students. Nearly two-thirds of the educators involved in this survey thought class size had a direct impact on student achievement.
The biggest drawback with larger classes has been the loss of one-on-one interaction between the teacher and student, these educators stated. More Questions Some have investigated whether hiring an aide for a teacher in a larger classroom can be as effective for increasing student performance as reducing the number of students.
These studies have shown that having an aide in the classroom has no positive impact on student achievement or behavior. Another question investigated in studies is whether smaller classrooms benefit children in the higher grades as well as those in the lower grades.
The results of the studies are that small classrooms have the greatest impact in the early grades, especially on underperforming children. Based on these studies, it makes sense to target funds to reduce class size to kindergarten and grades one through three.
On the other hand, bad behavior in the classroom by middle and high school students is commonplace and escalating. Because one of the benefits of smaller class size is fewer discipline problems, it would seem that smaller classes would be an advantage in middle and high schools as well as in grade schools.
Also, graduation rates, particularly in urban districts, are far too low. It would also seem that a student who is thinking about dropping out or having trouble fulfilling the requirements for graduation would greatly benefit from the additional individual attention from the teacher that smaller classes allow.
Recent Studies Question Certain Benefits One of the benefits emphasized by supporters of smaller class sizes is the flexibility that it affords the teacher to employ different teaching methods.
A single teaching method may not be the most effective for all students in the class. A different learning experience can reach students who are not as responsive to the basic method.
Also, a variety of teaching methods may make classes less predictable and boring. S, England, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. In Marchthe researchers reported that many teachers do not modify their teaching methods when teaching smaller classes but rather continue using the same approach as they used with larger classes.Comments on “Top 11 Reasons Why Students Drop out of College” Anonymous Says: November 26th, at am.
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