Smaller is better?

It seems so straightforward. Smaller classes allow teachers to give more time to each student, and that boosts achievement. Or does it? Here’s our Lisa Snell:

A recent British study has cast serious doubt on the commonly held notion that smaller class sizes can by themselves improve student achievement. A team of researchers from the University of London studied 21,000 British students in grades 4 through 6 to determine the effects of class size on student achievement … The study found no evidence that children in smaller classes made more progress in mathematics, English, or science, even after accounting for specific characteristics of students in small or large classrooms … The British study tracks similar findings from a large-scale study of California’s class-size reduction program completed last year by the RAND Corporation, which examined the standardized test scores over five years for pupils in 2,892 schools across the state. The RAND researchers found class size had little effect on student achievement in California.

Other nations who educate their kids better than we do often have rather large class sizes. And somehow Catholic schools have been able to do a good job teaching large groups of kids.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.