Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another "DUH!" Smaller classes = student improvement!

I find the article linked in the title above timely as we are hearing rumors that class sizes will be going up next year due to financial issues. Just as studies prove time and again that having a teacher librarian in the library improves student achievement, studies have long proven that class size affect their success as well. It doesn't matter how many studies are done that prove what we already know to be true, if finances impede progress in these areas, why even do the studies. Okay, I know I am being negative. We believe the studies, we listen to the researchers and cheer on the proven results, but we don't have the power to implement for the results that could be available from them. (Sad Face)

Here is my summary of this latest article. It is still interesting after all.

Breaking up large classes into several smaller ones helps students, but the improvements in many cases come in spite of what teachers do, new research suggests. Why? Because of what students feel they can do: Get more face time with their teacher or work in small groups with classmates. And the research shows that students stay more focused and misbehave less in this environment. So 1st thing we should do is make our classrooms smaller without worrying about changing the unimodal approach that many teachers use. In fact, researchers found that few teachers do take the opportunity to incorporate activities that take advantage of the smaller class size. But if you want more improvement, the data from a long-term class-size reduction effort in Tennessee show that while smaller classes improve achievement overall, they seem to benefit high-achieving students more than low achievers. Because low-income students are more likely to be low achievers, researchers say, the effort is doing little to reduce the stubborn "achievement gap". (Another Sad Face)

Please feel free to opine in the comments section.

"Size alone makes small classes better for kids". Greg Toppo, USA TODAY3/24/2008.

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