What is the Perfect Class Size?

A report came out recently by the Grattan Institute which claims that reducing class sizes does not necessarily improve schooling.

The study’s author, Dr Ben Jensen, says that while the drive to reduce class sizes is well intentioned, his research suggests that it has little impact on the quality of education for children. He says that more effective teachers would produce a better result.

But the Teachers Federation disagrees with his report, which is based on research carried out in the US state of Florida.

“Any parent given a choice between a large class or a smaller class will choose the smaller class because they know their child will get more teacher time and support,” federation vice president Joan Lemaire said in a statement.

Just because good teachers are a better indicator of success, doesn’t mean that our classrooms aren’t too crowded.  Whilst I appreciate that there is a big cost in cutting class sizes, you can not tell me for a second that a teacher is just as capable of teaching 27 as she/he is of teaching 17.  A good teacher will flourish in most environments and will rise to most pressures, but imagine how much more influential they would be in a smaller class.

I have 17 in class which would probably be the envy of many teachers.  I feel that 17 is a good number, and I wouldn’t ideally want to teach a class of 25 or more.

How many students do you have in your class and what do you think is the ideal (being realistic of course) amount?


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One Response to “What is the Perfect Class Size?”

  1. Jarrod Says:

    It seems that in education, we see policymakers and educational institutions embracing a set of the latest research rather than a synthesis of the best research.  As a teacher, I have difficulty deciding what the beat research is.  But, I have really good instincts about what students need.  When I hear research that supposedly supports a new initiative in education, I dont have much difficulty deciding if this new information fits with the practices of good teaching.  

    A smaller class size alone will not improve education.  But if you already have a good teacher, the fastest way to make him great is to give him a smaller class.  And, maybe while he only has 15 students, coach him and develop his skills because he’ll have the energy to learn.  

    But my district seems to think that just decreasing the class size will change classroom practice.

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