class size

Topics: Education, Secondary education, Secondary school Pages: 5 (1225 words) Published: October 23, 2013
Education is a pillar of modern society and
the subject of endless,, often passionate
arguments about how it can best be
improved. In the U.S.,there is heated
debate following revelations that the country’s secondary school students perform poorly relative to many Asian and European
students. The news coincided with increasing concern over the nation’s urban and lower-income suburban schools, too many
of which are languishing at achievement
levels far below those of middle-class and
upper middle-class suburban schools,Of all the ideas for improving education, few are as simple or attractive as reducing
the number of pupils per teacher. With its
uncomplicated appeal and lack of a big powerful group of opponents, class-size reduction has lately developed from a subject of primarily academic interest to a key political issue. In the United States more

than 20 states and the federal government have adopted policies aimed at decreasing class sizes, and billions of dollars have been
spent or committed in the past few years The demand for smaller classes is also growing in Canada, Australia, the United
Kingdom and even Japan, whose record of
secondary school performance is the envy of
most other developed countries. ost other developed countries. The most obvious drawback to class-size
reduction is the huge cost. It requires more
teachers, more classrooms, and more classroom equipment and resources. These expenses can dwarf the price of alternative
schemes, such as testing teachers or increasing their pay as a means of attracting better candidates. The state of California,
for example has been spending more than
$1.5 billion annually over the past several
years to reduce class size to 20 or fewer for
children in the four- to seven-year-old bracket.
On the other hand, if smaller classes really
do work, the economic benefits could be huge. They would accrue not just from the benefits of a better-educated workforce but also from
other sources, such as the avoided medical
costs and sick days of a healthier,more
informed populace. The surge of interest in smaller classes
has spurred fresh analyzes of the largest,most conclusive study to date, which took place in Tennessee in the late 1980s.s. At
the same time, new data are flowing from
various initiatives, including the California
program and a smaller one in Wisconsin.
These results and analyzes are finally offeing some tentative responses to the questions that researchers must answer before legislators can come up with policies that
make educational and economic sense: Do
small classes in fact improve school achievement? If they do, at what age level do they accomplish the greatest good? What kind of
students gain the greatest benefit, and most
importantly, how great is the benefit?
Educators have a multitude of explanations
for why smaller class sizes might be expected to improve academic performance, although frequently the ideas are anecdotal.
Fewer students in the classroom seem to
translate into less noise and disruptive
behavior from students, which not only gives
the teacher more time for class work but
also more freedom to engage students creatively—by, for example, dividing them into groups for specific projects. In addition,
smaller classes make it more likely that the
teacher can give greater individual attention
to struggling students. Smaller classes also
allow teachers to encourage more discussion, assign more writing, and closely examine their students’ written work. In other words, much of the benefit of reduced class
size may depend on whether the teachers
adapt their methods to take advantage of smaller classes. Finally, some analysts believe that the very youngest age group in
smaller classes are more likely to develop
good study habits, higher self-esteem and
possibly other beneficial cognitive traits—
which may very well persist for years, even
after the students have gone back to more
normal-sized...
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