Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When it comes to classes, small is better

Date:
May 1, 2014
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Small classes, especially in the first four years of school, can have an important and lasting impact on student achievement, a new report shows. In a review of over 100 papers from 1979-2014, an education expert looked at whether the conclusions reached on the effect of smaller class sizes still hold true today. "Smaller classes in the early years can lift a child's academic performance right through to Year 12 and even into tertiary study and employment," he concluded.

Small classes, especially in the first four years of school, can have an important and lasting impact on student achievement, a new report shows.

Related Articles


In a review of over 100 papers from 1979-2014, education expert Dr David Zyngier from Monash University's Faculty of Education looked at whether the conclusions reached on the effect of smaller class sizes still hold true today.

"The question of class size continues to attract the attention of educational policymakers and researchers alike," Dr Zyngier said.

"Many argue that much of Australia's increased expenditure on education in the last 30 years has been 'wasted' on efforts to reduce class sizes because that extra funding has not led to improved academic results."

However Dr Zyngier found that current policy advice is based on 'cherry picking' of flawed research evidence from a US conservative think tank' and that a range of independent studies throws doubt on that argument.

His review drew on a wide range of studies from Australia and other similar education systems including non-English speaking countries of Europe, as well as England, Canada and New Zealand. All assessed how class size affected academic results. Dr Zyngier also looked at whether other variables such as teaching methods were taken into account in the results.

The findings suggest that smaller class sizes in the first four years of school can have a significant and lasting impact on student achievement. This appears to be especially important for children from communities that are culturally, linguistically or economically disenfranchised.

"Smaller classes in the early years can lift a child's academic performance right through to Year 12 and even into tertiary study and employment," Dr Zyngier said.

"It is also beneficial to have smaller numbers for specialist classes in such fields as numeracy and literacy."

Dr Zyngier said the cost of keeping classes small had to be weighed against the long-term cost to the community of less-effective education.

There was also a need for a new approach to teacher development, he said.

"Currently teaching methodology is based on large classes, which call for a very different approach to teaching smaller groups," Dr Zyngier said.

"Targeted funding for specific lessons and schools, combined with professional development of teachers, would address the inequality of schooling and help redress the damaging effect that poverty, violence, inadequate child care and other factors have on our children's learning," Dr Zyngier said.

Dr Zyngier's findings were published in Evidence Base, the journal of the Australian New Zealand School of Governance. The article can be found online at: http://journal.anzsog.edu.au/publications/9/EvidenceBase2014Issue1.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Zyngier. Class size and academic results , with a focus on children from cultural ly, linguistic ally and economically disenfranchised communities. Evidence Base, Issue 1, 2014

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "When it comes to classes, small is better." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101226.htm>.
Monash University. (2014, May 1). When it comes to classes, small is better. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101226.htm
Monash University. "When it comes to classes, small is better." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101226.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins