Many students and teachers have not stopped to ask if class size matters in regard to education, but when they do, the topic becomes controversial. Class size matters because reduced classes increase student’s academic outcomes.
According to The Seattle Times website, at least 40 states have carried out some kind of class size reduction in the past 15 years to lower class sizes.
When class size reduces, it allows teachers to give students more detailed instructions, as it provides higher levels of student engagement with teachers. It is also linked with better test scores, fewer dropouts, and higher graduation rate.
Even the best teachers are limited to what they can do with a large class. A teacher with a class of 30 students can not ensure that every pupil in that class is efficiently understanding class material with the material of the course.
The first nationwide survey to weigh the experiences of teachers, students, and parents regarding the performance of large and small schools was conducted by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It concluded that teachers, students, and parents all prefer small class environment.
Based on this survey, small classes were credited with 68 percent of parent and student satisfaction with high academic achievement, and higher levels of engagement.
Some disagree with this method of improving academic achievement based on the fact that lowering class sizes costs a large amount of money. It would cost nearly 19 billion dollars through 2019 to get more teachers and staff throughout the nation.
Money is of course an important factor that leads to people disagreeing with the method, but these dissident people lack an answer when asked what can be improved in the classroom setting to raise the rate of student achievement in all public schools. Saving money today by increasing class sizes will result in social and educational costs in the future.
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, and Arne Duncan, former secretary of education agree that class size doesn’t matter, ignoring the major research conducted by Northwestern University Associate professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach that makes clear that class size matters, and it matters a lot.
More than four decades of research in the U.S and abroad were made before figuring out that reducing class sizes results in great student achievement. It sure takes money and organization, but the the price to pay is worth the future of American education.
Let’s not wait four more decades. Through the use of school funds and thorough staff organization, class reduction and academic improvement can be possible in public schools throughout the nation.