Monday, July 11, 2011

Sizing Up Classrooms

Larry Sand debunks the unions' self-serving arguments in favor of continuing to spend huge amounts of money to reduce class size further:

Teachers like smaller classes, and understandably so. The advantages include fewer papers to grade, students to manage, and parents to deal with. The teachers' unions like smaller classes, too. Smaller classes mean more teachers—and more union dues. And parents like smaller classes because they believe that their children benefit from more individual attention. Everyone agrees that smaller classes are better, right?

In a word: no. Much of the rhetoric supporting small classes is demagogic and runs afoul of the research…

…In 1998, Hoover Institution senior fellow and economist Eric Hanushek released the results of his impressive review of class-size studies. Examining 277 separate studies on the effect of teacher-pupil ratios and class-size averages on student achievement, he found that 15 percent of the studies found an improvement in achievement, while 72 percent found no effect at all—and 13 percent found that reducing class size had a negative effect on achievement. While Hanushek admits that in some cases, children might benefit from a small-class environment, there is no way "to describe a priori situations where reduced class size will be beneficial."


Sizing Up Classrooms

It's time to expose the "smaller-is-better" myth.

Larry Sand, 7 July 2011

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