The Effects of Class Sizes

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Class sizes in schools have been a controversial topic for many years now. They are many different views and opinions on this topic, but the bottom line is that class sizes can affect the learning of elementary students.

Smaller classes have more to offer than large class sizes. Since elementary school is where most students really establish themselves academically, being in a smaller class allows teachers to involve more discussion in their curriculums (Slavin, R. E.). A smaller class size also allows teachers to be able to focus more on individual students. Fewer students equal less commotion in the classroom. With fewer children in the class the teacher can focus on students on a more individual level (Ehrenberg, R. G., Brewer, D. J., Gamoran, A., Willms, J. D., & Zorpette, G.). Students can get more done in a small classroom, get more of their questions answered, and complete more in class assignments.

Larger classes really only offers benefits from a social standpoint (Hanushek). Large class sizes offer more diversity, so students are interacting with different kinds of people from different backgrounds. Large classes are also cheaper to have (Lee, V. E., & Loeb, S). To have smaller classroom requires more rooms in schools and more educators, which costs taxpayers more money.

Even though small classes have more to offer, the performance between students it is not that great of a gap. A study in Toronto showed that students in a class of sixteen had higher scores in only the mathematic portion, while all the other classes had close to the same scores in reading, vocabulary, and composition (Shapson, S. M., Wright, E. N., Eason, G., & Fitzgerald, J).

Therefore, smaller classes can benefit an elementary students’ learning, but the degree of what the child benefits is simply up to the child. Different kids have different effects, since everyone wired differently.
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