ERIC Number: ED407699
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
Reducing Class Size: A Review of the Literature and Options for Consideration.
Illig, David C.
Four initiatives to reduce class size are before the California State Legislature--SB 1414, AB 2449, the Governor's proposal, and AB 2821. Three of them were influenced by the findings reported by Tennessee's Project Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR). Project STAR is a longitudinal demonstration project that since 1985 has examined the effects of reduced class size on student performance in grades K-3. This paper reviews the findings of STAR researchers, who reported that students in smaller classes showed marked improvement in academic performance. The paper reviews the literature on class size and discusses technical, implementation, and fiscal concerns about the STAR research findings. Specifically, some analysts have questioned whether the benefits of smaller classes significantly offset the costs incurred to create them. Another concern is whether classes with as few as 15 children are small enough to achieve marked improvements in performance, and whether those improvements persist over time. Finally, there are concerns about whether other reforms should accompany smaller classes in order to ensure consistent achievement gains. The paper suggests that the California state legislature may wish to consider other class-reduction options, such as coordinating funding for related projects, focusing on low-achieving schools first, and establishing a formal evaluation program to examine issues related to class-size reduction. The legislature might also consider options in lieu of smaller classes, including early-late classes, individual tutoring, comprehensive reform programs, and early childhood programs. One table is included. (Contains 29 references.) (LMI)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Class Size, Longitudinal Studies, Outcomes of Education, Performance, Primary Education, Small Classes, State Legislation, Teacher Student Ratio
California Research Bureau, California State Library, P.O. Box 942837, Sacramento, CA 94237-0001 (single copies free).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California State Library, Sacramento. California Research Bureau.
Identifiers - Location: California