For over hundreds years, researchers have been studying the consequences of class size in regard of student performances. In the early 20th century, some studies indicated that there exists no connection between the size of a class and the performance of its students. Contradictions on already completed studies differ on the facts concerning final achievement on student learning where some argue that small size classes showed better achievements while others support better performance from large classes. On a different point of view, every student has different capabilities just like school locations, managements, facilities and cultural backgrounds. This then presents difficulties establishing exact circumstances to measure achievement as a function of class size. Despite these controversies and as time went on with changing technology, there become a need to establish ways to offer effective learning on large classes without affecting the outcome. The 1950s marked the start of latest modes of research concerning class size with 1978 researches creating many arguments (Molnar 33). Therefore, this paper shows illustrates that small size classes have better student performances as opposed to large class sizes which negatively affects students and causing poor performances.
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A small class size has high chances of raising the performance of students when compared to large classes because there is room for concentration and alertness by students as the environment is conducive for concentration. A study by Glass and Smith as illustrated in Molnar show that a class of fifteen students have 30 percent better results compared to a class of 40 (48). This is because of the effect of ratios of students to teacher where higher ratios presents the vulnerability of students of having a negative attitude towards learning and since the class is large they have a perception that they can just hang within the crowd and run away with it. Small class students have less behavioral disturbances with active participation coupled with high concentration in class as opposed to large classes that eventually increases student performance (Graue et al. 6). With small class sizes, teachers have the opportunity to extend personal support to individual students improving efficiency hence better performances. Well-funded, organized and managed studying environments have great input to encouraging better concentration by students because there are no negative forces to draw attention of the students.
Considering the physical characteristics of the class (area covered and location), the students personal abilities, best school facilities including quality of teachers and classrooms and students individual effects as a result of their backgrounds impact student performance (Biddle and Berliner 3). The studies also discover that public schools have poor facilities and poor student attitudes of students as opposed to private schools. In public schools, the number of students in a classroom is large with high teacher-student a ratio that reduces the seriousness and concentration of students leading to poor performances. Moreover, the students’ background in the society contributes the performance in small classes where students with poor educational backgrounds show high performances (Biddle and Berliner 2).
In private schools, the facilities are good and competition is high, there are low teacher-student ratios and this combination encourages seriousness and effectiveness of learning hence better performances as the illustration from the Tennessee STAR Project. Therefore, even researches recommend on abolishing public schools because they are ineffective and substitute them with industry of competitive private schools (Biddle and Berliner 4). Large class students have high probability of not raising to the expectation of schoolwork because they have a tendency of utilizing most of their times which they could rather utilize in studying, with the peers.
The duration that the students are part of small size classes from the time they enter the lowest grade and maintaining this through subsequent grades increases and contribute a lot to performance of the students and this has great importance to student performance. Although this might fail in the higher grades, introduction at early grades improves student performance (Biddle and Berliner 5). The longer the exposure to small class size from lower grades, the higher it contributions to better performance of the students and vice versa. In addition, students at young ages have great sensitivity to changes in the environments and thus their performances concerning reading and mathematics have better results as opposed to higher grades when put in small classes indicating how individual capabilities can contribute to better results. Studies like Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) showed that in small classes “outperformed the comparison group in reading, language arts and mathematics through the third grade” (Graue et al. 8). The STAR study as showed in Graue et al. that during kindergarten levels, students in small class sizes were the top performers in their classes contributing to 10 % and by grade three the percentage increased to 78 % (6). In addition to better organization with adequate funds, putting students to small classes from lower grades through subsequent grades will eventually improve their performance. The time that a student is part of a small class dictates their degree of performance. Short duration have less impacts while longer duration have much effects.
It is however that despite the above benefits from small class sizes, much criticism illustrates the opposite: not only do small classes have better student performance but also large classes. Some economics researchers who had the interest of testing the models of mathematics used to measure student outputs presented some unaccountable models not fully dedicated to measuring student performance as a function of class size but a way to criticize better performance of small classes. Moreover, political influences criticize claims on better performance of small class sizes which the greed to reduce funding of better facilities.
In conclusion, small class sizes lead to better student performances compared to large class sizes because they present the desirable environment for concentration, have better facilities and if students exposed to small classes from lower grades, they will eventually have better performances: the longer the exposure, the better the performance.
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