Class Size V. Student Achievement

Topics: High school, Middle school, Educational stages Pages: 9 (3666 words) Published: June 21, 2011
Class Size V. Achievement

Class Size Verses Student Achievement
Walter McGee
Holy Family University

The effect of class size on student achievement has been widely debated over the years. Mixed findings have come about since the research has been started and in this study I will try to further the findings to prove that class size can, and does effect student achievement. In earlier studies it has been shown that some states across the United States including New York and California have agreed that student achievement can and will rise with reduced class size (Addonizio & Phelps, 2000). This study will explore different thoughts and perceptions in districts in Pennsylvania on class size in their schools. Interviews will be conducted to determine if teachers with smaller class size have greater student achievement in contrast to those teachers who have larger class sizes. From the data collected this study will analyze whether there is a direct relationship with student achievement and the size of the classes these students are in. Literature Review

Class size verses student achievement is a study that has been going on for many years. The studies have been done in many different ways by many different people. These people are looking for one of two results. They are wishing to either find that class size does affect student achievement or that class size does not affect student achievement. These studies have not been localized either. There have been studies done on this topic all throughout the world. The studies that I will be focusing on will all take place in the United States since the research I am doing was all gathered in the United States. To this day there in not a general consensus on whether or not academic achievement is students is affected by class size. Research on this topic is gaining national awareness as 18 states in the United States have initiated a program that looks to reduce class size in hopes that it will directly affect student achievement (Hedges, Konstantopolous & Nye, 2001). This study also reached main line media directly when President Clinton included this in his education initiative to help there be better schooling in America (Hedges et al., 2001). More than 100 experiments on this topic have been conducted over the past several years where students have been placed in smaller sized classrooms as well as larger sized classrooms. After that, the findings have been evaluated by professionals and there has been much disagreement about the findings. The controversy comes from the studies are that they have been done on a small scale basis and only for a short period of time. With all that said the evidence collected does point to the final assumption that class size in schools does have an effect on student achievement (Hedges, et al., 2001).

Another study, by Burr (2001), shows that students in primary grades K-3 did show a rise in achievement when placed in smaller classes. A study was done in schools ranging from inner-city, rural, urban and suburban schools to see the effects on class size. In the study they looked at classes with 13-17 students per teacher, 22-25 students per teacher, and 2-25 students with a teacher and a full-time teacher aide. The conclusion of the study shows pattern emerging in kindergarten and continuing through third grade. These patterns are showing that students in the smaller classroom and students in the larger classroom with the aide showed the greatest results. The classroom with 13-17 students showed the most growth out of the three classrooms. They were able to cover the material in the class more quickly which left extra time for one on one instructional time, as well as time for enrichment activities and thorough review. The classroom with the highest number of students and only one teacher showed the least amount of growth amongst the research groups, thus leading to...
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