ERIC Number: ED461693
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
Class Size: What Does Research Tell Us? Spotlight on Student Success.
Finn, Jeremy D.
This report summarizes the findings of some recent pivotal studies of class size, especially as they relate to students at risk. Of particular note is a large-scale study of class size, which was designed to test the conclusions of G. Glass and M. Smith (1978) and G. Robinson (1990) about the advantages of small class size. This study, Project Student-Teacher Achievement Ratio (Project STAR) was conducted in Tennessee beginning in 1985. Project STAR was a controlled scientific experiment that studied a large number of teachers (over 300 each year) and a large number of students (more than 10,000 in all) over 4 years. Both norm-referenced and curriculum-referenced tests were administered each year. Because of the tight experimental control of Project STAR and the magnitude of the study, educations can be confident of certain principles: (1) small classes (17 pupils or fewer) are more effective academically than larger classes (22 and above) in the primary grades in all subject areas; (2) the advantage of small classes is greater for minority students and students in inner-city schools than for white students; and (3) the advantage of small classes can probably be attributed to the fact that students are more actively engaged in learning compared to their peers in larger classes. Even these strong findings do not fully resolve questions of the cost effectiveness of small classes. In addition, there is still not enough information to tell whether small classes might be especially advantageous if the teachers received special training to take advantage of small class size. There is little information to tell whether small classes could be especially beneficial when used in conjunction with other compensatory or accelerated programs. Current research does not tell much about the effects of small class size in middle school or high school. (Contains 13 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Class Size, Disadvantaged Youth, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, High Risk Students, Small Classes, Teacher Student Ratio, Urban Schools, Urban Youth
Laboratory for Student Success, 1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19122-6901. Tel: 800-892-5550 (Toll Free).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Mid-Atlantic Lab. for Student Success, Philadelphia, PA.