Reducing class size to increase student achievement
Updated: Nov 21, 2018
There have been many studies that show the benefits of reduced class sizes and how it is directly related to increased student achievement especially in the years between grades K to 4th grade. Statewide programs like Tennessee’s Project STAR—(Student Teacher Achievement Ratio) commissioned by the state legislature in the mid-1980s—may be the most influential class reduction program in recent years.
The STAR-and-Beyond database contains
raw student- and school-level data from a longitudinal experiment conducted in Tennessee beginning in 1985. The experiment lasted for four years, with a single cohort of students progressing from kindergarten through third grade. Achievement tests and non-achievement measures were administered annually. The experiment required schools to commit to the four-year time frame as a condition of participation; and required schools to agree to random assignment of teachers and students to small (13 to 17 students) or large (22 to 26 students) classes as a condition of participation.
Overview Of The Data Files
The primary student-level data file contains information on 11,601 students who participated in the experimental phase for at least one year. Information for each of
grades K-3 includes:
• Demographic variables; • School and class identifiers; • School and teacher information; • Experimental condition (“class type”); • Norm-referenced and criterion-referenced achievement test scores; • Motivation and self-concept scores.
Additional data, added to the records of some or all students, include: • Achievement test scores for the students when they were in grades 4 – 8, obtained from the Tennessee State Department of Education; • Teachers’ ratings of student behavior in grades 4 and 8; • Students’ self-reports of school engagement and peer effects in grade 8; • Course taking in mathematics, science, and foreign language in high school, obtained from student transcripts; • SAT/ACT participation and scores, obtained from ACT, Inc. and from Educational Testing Service; • Graduation/dropout information, obtained from high school transcripts and the Tennessee State Department of Education.
Other data files include: (1) Student data on 1780 students in grades 1 – 3 in 21 comparison schools, matched with STAR schools but not participating in the experiment; (2) A school-level file with additional information about each o f the 80 STAR schools; (3) A school-level file with additional information about each high school attended by STAR students.
Having followed the students through to the end of their school years even after the STAR study was finished found substantial evidence that reducing class size improved student academic achievement.
Additional studies conducted following the STAR report show that reducing class size by less than 2 students per class led to a 10% reduction in the achievement gap. Estimating that reducing class size to 18 students per class in grades k-4 would narrow the achievement gap by 40%, and reducing class size to 15 students per class would eliminate it.
A decade after the STAR project, the Wisconsin State Department of Public Instruction initiated SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee in Education), a program intended to increase student achievement by reducing K-3 class size to no more than 15 students per teacher. Phased in over five years, beginning in 1996-97. Project Sage found that class sizes are important but they also looked at the type of education
Lakeside Charter Academy
At Lakeside Charter Academy student-teacher ratio are kept low for the purpose of increasing direct interaction between the child and the teacher and because it helps children through the initial learning process. the reduced ratio allows teachers more time per student and allows the student more time to understand and learn the basics for a lifetime of education. At Lakeside there is also the understanding that learning is not always theoretical but in many occasions as shown in the SAGE ( Student Achievement Guarantee in Education) study its also about the type of education replacing chalk and talk "mass education strategies" adopted to decrease the educational cost per student with more individualized and effective education methods such as "Learning by Doing" also known as Problem-based or Project-based learning
Replacing chalk-and-talk pedagogy
Apart from keeping low student teacher ratios Lakeside Charter Academy also emphasized "Learning by doing" called “experiential learning,” and though it’s demanding for a school to offer these programs, They are also very effective.
In effect, this method of learning means replacing chalk-and-talk pedagogy of the past with inquiry, problem-based and project-based learning, sometimes using the tools of what we call a studio-like creative workshop where parents and the community come to participate and mentor students through their learning process. Experiential learning is with no doubt the best type of education for a young child who is learning the basics but unless the state mandates this change regular Public Schools are not able to offer this type of education and classroom reduction available today for your child and their future at Lakeside Charter Academy.
Some of the information contained in this BLOG was originated from the article located in the Center For Public Education's Website located at the following link