Smaller classes garner top marks

25th May 2001 at 01:00
Smaller classes make a difference, particularly in schools where there are children in need, according to a report from Los Angeles.

Five years after California reduced class sizes in the equivalent of its first schools, a study of the impact of the policy in Los Angeles - one of the largest and most socially diverse school districts in the country - shows that it has been a resounding success.

Nearly 20,000 third-grade pupils (aged eight to nine) who were taught in classes of 20 achieved higher marks in standardised tests in reading, mathematics and language than the control group who were taught in classes of 30 before the new legislation was implemented.

The most striking effects of class size reductions were in schools identified as high-need, low-achieving, and with large Hispanic populations. In addition, the bnefits were 50 per cent higher for teachers who had six or more years' experience. The researchers deduce that experienced teachers are more able to take advantage of the benefits to be gained from smaller classes.

While the report takes pains to point out that it is impossible to attribute the improved test results to class size reduction alone, since other school reforms took place at the same time, it also says that the documented improvements greatly underestimate the positive effects of smaller classes on children's achievement.

Class Size Reduction and Third Grade School Achievement: Some Highly Encouraging Findings in the Los Angeles Unified School District by Harold Urman, Dennis Hocevar, Gwen Uman, Ted Bartell, Pat Yee and Beverley Maxwell. Correspondence to: urman@vitalresearch.com or hocevar@usc.com


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now