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|Class Size Reduction: A Review of the Literature
High-quality evaluation research has demonstrated that smaller classes with a heterogeneous student composition can increase academic achievement and close the achievement gap. Research suggests that changes occur in the classroom naturally as a result of smaller size without teachers or students trying to do anything different. With fewer students, teachers understand students better, they use more tailored approaches to individuals, students form closer relationships with classmates and teachers, and the atmosphere becomes more friendly, cohesive, and less regimented. Still, researchers also observe that some changes such as the use of more hands-on activities emerge gradually (perhaps as teachers learn more about what is possible) and that individualization may not always be well done. Evaluation research has been slow to address potentially appropriate staff development training that may enhance the experience of smaller classes. The few existing evaluation studies have not shown benefits from training. At present, there is no agreement on the usefulness of staff development or on a general standard of teacher training appropriate for smaller class sizes.
|Class-Size Reduction Evaluation 1999-2000
Small classes have always had an intuitive appeal for parents. To many, it seems obvious that smaller classes should be associated with greater achievement. Still, all other things remaining equal, small classes are more expensive than large classes. Recent research suggests that smaller classes actually do significantly improve achievement. This report examines these and other important issues as they relate to the first year of the federal Class-Size Reduction Program (CSRP) in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS)