If you were looking for a headline putting out a report saying that reducing class sizes doesn’t lead to better student outcomes is a good way to get it. But that claim in the new report from a think tank called the Grattan Institute doesn’t stack up.
Anybody who has spent any time in schools knows how critically important class sizes are.
Just last month the AEU asked over 11,000 teachers to nominate the single most important change they believed would help them improve student outcomes. The overwhelmingly response was: reducing class sizes.
As one teacher told us:
“I believe I could significantly increase the literacy levels of students if I had smaller class sizes
and more time to focus on specific activities for specific students.”
While the Grattan Institute report focuses on a study in Florida to support its claims, the academic evidence in favour of smaller class sizes is overwhelming.
One of the most comprehensive studies was Project STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio) in the US in the late 1980s, which analysed student achievement and development for more than 7,000 students in small classes of 13 - 17, regular classes of 22 - 25 and regular classes with a teacher and full-time teacher aide.
In other words, the academic evidence proves what parents and teachers already know: kids do better in smaller class sizes. They always have and they always will.