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Small Classes

By ayajawhar Mar 11, 2013 555 Words
What are small classes ?
Small classes are classes that aren't small in size but inthe amount of students. They usually include a minimum of 13 to a maximum of 17 students. Are small classes better ?
Small classes are defind by researches that show gains in achievement. Professor Sypros Konstanpoulos from the Michigan State University found that several consecutive years of small classes in early elementary school benefits and helps students of all achievement levels after he did a study about them. Such small classes cause students to have th best chances to succeed in latr grades. He contradicts what the states followed for a long time. He thinks that big classes don't benefit students of younger ages. Professor Sypros used data from the massive Project Star Study in Tennessee that analyzed the effects of the class size on more than eleven thousand students in elementary and middle school. He concluded that students who have been in smaller classes in kindergarten till the third grade have become high achievers. What is the Student-Teacher Ratio ?

The Student-Teacher ratio compares the teachers ability to the class size. For example, a small school has four part-time teachers who each work 25%of the time. The student-teacher ratio at this school would be calculated based upon one teacher instead of four and that's because foru teacher at 25% time equal to one full-time teacher. This wil make the student- teacher ratio appear higher than it really is. Alot of great schools follow the student-teacher ratio, and all their class sizes depend on those ratios. What are the benefits of small classes?

Numerous studies have been done to asses the impact of class size reduction other than Professor Sypros's research. All of those studies show an increase in student achievement . Smaller classes increase the quality of the curriculum and the leadership of the school. Teachers can identify easily the children with special learning problems early and give them effective help in the regular classroom. In the california districts referrals of students to special education have dropped 16%. Also small classes tend to help out students who come from groups that are traditionally disadvantaged in education minorities and immigrants. In addition students become less likely to be retained and more likely to stay in school and earn better grades. Another study from the American Journal of Public Health revealed that reducing class sizes in elementary schools reduces health diseases. Having less breathes in each class boosts the child's immune system and decreases his risks of being sick. Back to the academic benefits, small classes seem to reduce the amount of high school dropouts thus increasing the amount of graduates and those graduates enjoy significantly better health than dropouts. Small classes not only help students but also help teachers. Having smaller classes causes the school to need more teachers which would help unemployed teachers and other job seeker's. Smaller classes in addition increase team work and activities and decreases the teacher's workload. Finally smaller classes help parents save money because the prevent many unnecessary referrals into expensive special education programs. Alex Molmar of the University of Wisconsin recently said "There is no longer any argument about whether or not reducing class size in the primary grades increases student achievement. The evidence is quite clear: It does".

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