Welcome to my third and final research-based post where I am trying to decide if home-schooling is right for me family! In this last study, we are focusing on class sizes and whether or not that has an influence on the outcomes of the students. Most of us can probably already assume from personal experience that smaller class sizes make learning easier and school more enjoyable.
The argument of class size is not a new one. There has been research done on this topic since the 1920’s when enrollment increased from 52 to 72 percent. (Chingos 2013) Unfortunately, funding for schools is frequently limited and the decision must be made to either reduce class sizes and hire additional teachers or increase class size, limit teachers and slightly increase teacher salaries. Reducing class sizes has, by far, the most support of the options with 77 percent of respondents agreed that additional funding for education should be put towards smaller class sizes rather than higher salaries for teachers. (Chingos 2013) Not only do parents believe small class size is beneficial, but 81 percent of public school employees also preferred smaller class sizes to increased salaries, most likely because smaller class sizes are much easier to manage. (Chingos 2013)
In the past, there have been increases to budgets with the intent to reduce class sizes, but this was as far back as the 90’s. It seems now, I only hear about the cuts that are being made to the funds for education. I do not wish for this to become a policial post but it is discouraging that we are not putting more resources into raising the next generation of world leaders. We have determined that the majority of students, teachers, and parents prefer smaller class sizes but there is still the question, do smaller class sizes have an influence on student achievement?
In a research done in 2012, positive effects of smaller classes were found. It is estimated that a reduction of class size by just 10 students increases test scores. (Chingos 2013) There have also been statistically significant positive effects on reading and mathematics for those in smaller class sizes in younger grades and in upper grades, smaller class sizes help reduce stress and anxiety in students. (Chingos 2013) However, while the results are statistically significant, there is not a large difference and, ultimately, research has changed very little over the past 70 years and critics still remain very mixed. There certainly seems to be a preference for small class sizes but with funding limitations, it is difficult to guarantee small class sizes.
This is the last of my research and my final post will be a summary of what I have found and based on this research, what I feel is best for my family!
Chingos, M. M. (2013). Class size and student outcomes: Research and policy implications. Journal Of Policy Analysis And Management, 32, 411-438. doi:10.1002/pam.21677