(STUDY FINDS) -- EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s widely believed that smaller, more intimate, class sizes are better suited for student learning than larger classes. However, a new long-term study on math and science teaching trends finds that smaller class sizes don’t necessarily always lead to higher grades and achievements. Ultimately, the research team say, the effect of class size on student performance is dependent upon a number of additional factors such as country, the subject being taught, and various cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
It’s easy to understand why most believe smaller classes are the way to go. Fewer students in each class facilitates more individualized attention from teachers, and makes it easier for administrators to maintain a sense of control. Due to these reasons, various countries have instituted limits on how large classes can be, with many capping the number at around 30 students per class.
Still, prior research on this topic has largely yielded inconsistent findings, with some studies identifying clear benefits to smaller classes, while others haven’t. Furthermore, most of this research was small in scope, focused primarily on only math or reading, and failed to consider the influence class size has on other non-academic or cognitive skills such as overall interest in the topic being taught and attentiveness.
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