Education is fundamental in today’s modern society and is the subject of endless debates across the United States. Recently, it has risen to the top of both state and national agendas (Finn, 2002).
One reform movement currently being debated is the effects of school and class size on the quality of student education. Advocates of smaller classes argue students learn more when there are fewer students in the classroom. Many studies are conducted to try to prove this theory. Although some studies show positive results, the many failed experiments led opposers of class size reduction to believe that there is no link among class size and student learning. (Bell, Crandall, & Parnell, 2009). Many studies have been inconclusive, however, and widespread initiatives to reduce class sizes are being undertaken by schools across the nation. Because class size reduction projects are so expensive, some schools have been forced to look at other alternatives to meet the same goals (Kennedy, 2003). Examples of these alternatives are adding more teachers to a single classroom or extending the school day or year.
Analyzing the negatives, positives, and alternatives of class size reduction has been a topic of constant debate by researchers, educators, and leaders across the United States.
Benefits of Small Class Sizes
Many researchers have discovered that smaller is better. Teachers from around the United States find that they can teach with more variety and depth in a small class rather than a large one. Teachers also feel they have more time to cover material and have better organization in class. Teachers with small classes spend less time on grading and paperwork which gives them more time to spend on instruction. A studen...
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... classes, and are more enthusiastic about teaching. Overall, educators believe that these methods to create smaller classes will allow teachers to help their students (Dixon-Krauss & Januszka, 2008). Other studies have been criticized, such as the Glass & Smith study because the final report was seriously flawed and was not reliable information (Mitchell & Beach, 1990).
The cost of reducing class size is enormous, which leads some schools to look for other alternatives. This included hiring more teachers, asking for volunteers, and extending the school day or year. Clearly, students overall benefit in a small classroom environment and small classes encourage a sense of family and community between students and their teachers. Although, this debate is nowhere near over, research clearly shows that smaller classes are the most advantageous for students to learn in.
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