Small Classes, Small Benefits

Happy teacher listening to her students Free Photo

Conventional wisdom has always held that small classes are superior to larger classes in relation to student learning. However, based on recent research from Demark, which included data from 127 different studies from around the world on the benefits of small classes, this may not be the case. This research suggests that these widely-accepted benefits are actually minimal or non-existent, particularly with the study of Mathematics.

“Class size reduction is costly,” the researchers wrote, adding that the available evidence points to no or only very small effects when comparing small classes to larger classes. “Moreover, we cannot rule out the possibility that small classes may be counterproductive for some students.”

The research goes on to suggest that smaller class sizes may indirectly result in poorer educational outcomes, the logic being that if the extra teachers needed for more classes are less experienced, the overall teaching quality could be reduced.

Read the full article at U.S. News

Author Malcolm Gladwell makes a similar point in his 2013 book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. An interesting interview on this topic can be found here.

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