Home > Class Size > Size Really Does Matter

Size Really Does Matter

Why should classes be reduced to fewer than 20 students per room? I believe that when you have fewer students per room then the student has more of a chance to succeed in the class itself. I think that the students are more capable of getting to know their fellow class mates well enough to work together to get homework done or even to form friendships.

With fewer than 20 students, the students get a chance to get to know their teacher and have a good relationship with them to where they won’t be afraid to ask them questions. In an experiment by Smith and Glass, it proves that class size and achievement are linked. The less students to a class room the more likely the students were to achieving their goal. When the classes had fewer than 20 students per class (with all grades) the students did a lot better in that section of education. Classes with fewer students in it, gave the students easier contact with the teacher, and with a smaller class size the closer they get to the teacher.

When the teacher and student relationship grows it improves the learning capability in the student itself. The student doesn’t feel so afraid to go talk to the teacher because you can talk to the teacher in class and have a group discussion on it, where in a large class the students are more afraid to raise their hand to get the answer they are looking for because of how the other students will view them. The students feel more comfortable with fewer students because they all get to know one another and trust that one won’t make fun of the other for asking questions. In 1986 Robinson and Wittebols conducted a study on the class size achievement. Their results showed that with the class size smaller it helps with the disadvantaged and minority students because they don’t feel separated and pointed out. They feel like they belong and that they have a place in the class that no one can take away. They also proved that the teachers themselves need to change their plans for teaching. If they get a smaller class size, but they keep their curriculum the way it was for the larger class then it will be pointless.

The teachers need to fix their curriculum in order for the smaller classes to work. Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn says “As a teacher, I think my students would benefit from my continued professional learning as well as a smaller class.” She also says, “More time to tailor learning to the needs of individuals or small groups, less time spent marking, more time to plan creative and stimulating learning experiences.” They need to make the plans more personal, so that in the classroom they will be able to have a discussion and the whole class can be involved. I know in my classes that are smaller my fellow students and I enjoy when our class has discussions and everyone gets to share their input on the matter at hand. I know it helps me learn more and in an easier way. I think that when I talk about the subject and get all my questions out and answered I then know all the information and not just bits and pieces of it. I like knowing that I won’t be questioning myself later and I can go back to my room and know what to study and feel confident in myself to know it for the test and even if it isn’t on the test itself.

I think that when teachers encourage a class room discussion that it helps the students be more open and to be able to enjoy the class more. According to David Harris “Encouraging pupils to think, solve problems, be creative and express themselves confidently is crucial, and it is self-evident that this is best achieved with smaller groups.”  According to research it was also found that if in the earlier years of school, like kindergarten to like fourth grade, it is especially important to have smaller classes because it improves the students learning ability and boosts their achievement later in life. So I think schools should take this, especially in elementary schools, and use it. If we start having smaller groups in younger classrooms then maybe it will start a new trend and show everyone how it has affected the students and helped them.

So in conclusion, smaller classes sizes are the way to go. If students benefit more from it and are able to understand the material they are learning better then why not try to help them. I say we should be wanting our future generations smarter and more outgoing, so we should start now with smaller classes to help get the students less afraid and more willing when it comes to school and learning the information.

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Categories: Class Size
  1. Mark
    November 30, 2010 at 1:58 am

    So I guess the question I’ll pose to you is this: does ice cream cause people to drown? The easy answer is, “What are you talking about?” but the confusing answer is, “yes!” When ice cream sales increase, so does the amount of people who drown … so ice cream causes people to drown, right? Well, it just so happens that both those things happen in the summer time, but they are unrelated to one another.

    That’s the problem, in my humble opinion, with class size arguments. While I may agree with your assertions, the question that needs examination is, “are students’ increased performance in smaller class sizes CORRELATIVE or CAUSATIVE? Basically, is it actually the smaller class, or is it something else that happens when class size decreases? AND, if it’s that something else, can we bring it to big classes too?

    I liked your argument and it was definitely well researched. What I would ask you is this: can you recreate the small class size feeling in a larger class? Has anyone tried? If not, why not?

  2. December 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I would say that is a good question. The only problem I think with trying to put the small class feeling into a large class is that the students would feel more intimidated in answering or asking a question.

    • jessica waters
      December 6, 2010 at 6:09 pm

      I think that you might be right about the intimidated feelings that students might get if they are in a small class. But, if somebody was to say make a speech, then it would be a little bit better in front of a smaller class than a large class. For me personally, I would be happier fading into the crowd and might not get picked on to speak in front of the class unlike I would in a smaller class size.

  3. December 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    and getting the conversation/ class discussion started.

  4. December 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    That is the point I am making. It is less likely that the students will just fade into the class in a smaller class size. Which is better for that student they are able to speak up and take advantage of talking. They can get their questions answered and are able to understand what is going on in the class rather than just sitting there listening to the professor talk and not understand a single word coming out of his mouth. Wouldn’t you rather speak up and understand then sit back and fail the tests because you didn’t know what was going on in class?

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