Elizabeth Weise

What can parents and communities do to create socioeconomically integrated schools?

Does class size matter? Research reveals surprises

Does class size matter? Research reveals surprises

The most obvious reason for why smaller classes work — that teachers give students better, more-tailored instruction — probably isn’t the reason why achievement goes up, studies have found.

Seattle Times education reporter

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The idea is popular with parents and politicians alike — at least 40 states have carried out some kind of class-size reduction in the past 15 years — and the Legislature in Washington has pledged to reduce average class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to 17 students by the fall of 2017.

Initiative 1351 on the Nov. 4 ballot would go even further, lowering average class sizes to 25 for grades four through 12 in Washington’s schools (with smaller sizes for schools where the majority of students come from low-income families).

According to the latest federal data based on teacher surveys, the average class size is 24 in the state’s elementary schools and 30 in secondary schools.

But despite more than four decades of research in the U.S. and abroad, the effects of this simple idea about how to raise student achievement have been hard to isolate and measure, leading to academic squabbles over its value.

Researchers generally agree that lower class sizes, at least in the earliest grades, are linked to positive educational benefits such as better test scores, fewer dropouts and higher graduation rates, especially for disadvantaged children.

Please read more here.

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Written by Elizabeth Weise

October 29, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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