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He Effect of Small Classes on Academic Achievement

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The Effect of Small Classes on Academic Achievement

Yang (Xuyang Zhang)


    Education is a pillar of modern society and subject of endless, often passionate arguments how it can best be improved. With the development of society, people pay more attention on education, and the education plays an important role in a country’s development. Therefore, more and more countries reduce the class size to help children get better education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average class size of U.S elementary schools has been reduced from twenty-four pupils in 1993 to twenty pupils in 2007(Peg Tyre, 2011, para 1). Accordingly, more students are able to get better learning environment. There are some benefits and disadvantages for reducing class size.

    First, small class size can help children get better education quality. In the one hand, every student in class will get noticed, because in a smaller class, it’s more difficult for students to hide and get left behind. The BBC article is written that teachers in small classes responded to pupils more effectively and quickly, and know more about individual. Therefore, teacher can pay more attention on every student, and they are encouraged and pushed to take part in the class and express their opinions. Moreover, teachers have more time to individualize their feedback, ensuring that each student understands the material. And teachers can also help students reach their potential. In the other hands, in 1985, researchers in the state of Tennessee randomly assigned over six thousand kindergartners to one of three experimental conditions:(a) a small class of between 13 and 17 kids and a single teacher, (b) a large class with 22 to 26 children and a singer teacher, and (c) a lager class of 22 to 26 children led by a teacher and an aide. At the end of kindergarten, the achievement of the children in small classes was almost a month ahead of the achievement of the kids in other two kinds of classes (Peg Tyre, 2011, para 15). Therefore, when children study in small classes, learning is enhanced. Not only do students learn more in small classes, they also learn faster. And this means the class progresses through the course material more quickly. In addition, students will get greater opportunities to participate. small groups mean fewer voices and that means the students those voices belong to have more chances to speak up in class. They can apply the knowledge, and they’ve acquired as they participate in discussions and express their opinions. Secondly, reducing the class to small size can also promote economic development. Specifically, building small size class will improve construction industry and production industry development. Likewise, more jobs are offered to serve school an education system. more teachers will be hired to teach students, and the logistics department of the school will need more people to take care of students and manage school. Moreover, with better and individual education, students have more ability to get better job and gain more money. As for Stephanie Berger (2007) stated that a student graduating from high school after attending smaller-sized classes gains an average of 1.7 quality-adjusted life-years and generates a net $168431 in lifetime revenue. Finally, small class size is better for teacher. the teacher in charge of less students, which means they can reduce time to manage class and increase time to focus on teaching.

    As everything has two sides, there are some disadvantages for class size reduction. “Smaller class size is simply too darn expensive for what turns out to be very minor improvements in student achievement. And it comes at a huge cost.”(Tyre,2011,para 7). Because small class size requires plenty of money to build more classrooms, have more classroom equipment, and materials for improving the quality of educational systems like sports facilities, laboratory appliance, government needs to spend more money on school’s infrastructure construction, and the tuition also will be increased. Thus, some families can’t afford too much money for their children to go to school, the children will have fewer chances to gain a bright life in the future. Moreover, small class size can cause a problem that the quality of teachers.  having many small classes involves having more qualified teachers. To have small size classes benefit students, schools will need to hire effective teachers who are enthusiastic, loving, and willing to work with students of all backgrounds. However, a plenty of teachers are required to teach in small class size, there is not possible that every class can get the best teacher. For example, some teachers don’t have enough experience to teach students or they don’t have enough ability to teach students, so the quality of education will be decreased.



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