By Leonie Haimson / Network for Public Education – In Altnet
Class size reduction is not only extremely popular among parents and teachers – it is one of the very few reforms proven to work through rigorous evidence, and to provide especially large benefits for children from low-income families and students of color, who see twice the academic gains from small classes. Indeed, it is only one of a handful of educational policies that has been shown to significantly narrow the achievement gap between economic and racial groups.
Research has also linked smaller classes to improvements in many other ways, boosting non-cognitive skills and parent involvement. Class size reduction lessens disciplinary problems because students are more engaged in classroom discussion and debate and less likely to be disruptive.
Small classes also ease teacher attrition rates – particularly in high-needs districts, because teachers are more successful they are less likely to quit the profession or transfer to schools with more advantaged students. See the Class Size Matters research summary, showing these and other benefits.