ERIC Number: ED464393
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Feb
Making Sense of Continuing and Renewed Class-Size Findings and Interest.
Achilles, C. M.; Finn, J. D.
In this paper, the authors examine several factors related to class size. The purpose of the presentation is to: (1) trace the evolution of class-size research; (2) briefly describe the Student Achievement Ratio (STAR) class-size experiment; (3) summarize the early and the later student outcomes of STAR participants; (4) outline the research-demonstrated and theory-based reasons for the obtained student and teacher outcomes using STAR data and inferences drawn from many STAR-generated class-size studies; (5) show how these results seriously question the direction of U.S. education since 1965; (6) explain policy and practice steps required to reverse some negative trends; and (7) offer guidelines to implement small classes, K-3, as a foundation for education improvement at little cost. Appendixes include a reprint of a Los Angeles Times article dealing with crowded Orange County schools, and basic design issues of a longitudinal class-size experiment. Results suggest that the closer a study adhered to controlled, experimental research (for example, STAR), the more pervasive and enduring were early outcomes that benefited all students, but especially favored minority, poor, male students. Research shows the necessity of 3 or 4 years of small-class "treatment." Teacher aides added no consistent benefit, but volunteers used under a teacher's direction enrich outcomes. (Contains 55 references.) (DFR)
Descriptors: Class Size, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Educational Innovation, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnic Groups, Minority Groups, Public Schools, Research Utilization, Sex Differences, Teacher Aides, Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Morale, Teacher Student Ratio, Volunteers
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of School Administrators (San Diego, CA, February 14-17, 2002).