Monday, March 17, 2008

Smaller Classes Don't Close Learning Gap, Study Finds

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2008; Page B02

For 20 years, a large study of class size in Tennessee, known as Project STAR, has raised hopes that reducing the number of children in inner-city classrooms to 17 or fewer would yield significant increases in achievement. It was by far the most authoritative finding in favor of reducing class size and was generally considered one of the most important educational studies of its time.

But a Northwestern University researcher, looking closely at the same data on thousands of students from kindergarten through third grade in 79 schools, has concluded that high achievers benefited more from the small classes than low achievers. Since low-income students in urban neighborhoods have lower achievement, on average, than students from more affluent families, the finding in the March issue of Elementary School Journal contradicts assumptions that class size reduction might have a significant effect on the gap between rich and poor students.

Read more HERE


Anonymous said...

An article in today's USA Today (3/25)would seem to contradict this study although it does include the caveat that teachers also need to teach like they have a smaller class. It states that smaller classes allow teachers to forge relationships with students that increase learning. However if teachers don't do that and continue to teach as though their class is large the impact is minimal.

Anonymous said...

I can't find the link to the article online but it's on page 4 of the Life Section in today's edition.