Class sizes in the province of Ontario are set to increase. Should this matter? A recent policy brief by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) in the United States might offer some insight into class size matters. Among the research-based facts offered are the following:
1. Better achievement occurs when younger students are in SMALLER, not larger, classes. There is evidence to show that the achievement of older students is affected similarly.
2. Better long-term outcomes occur when younger students are enrolled in SMALLER classes. Long-term outcomes include lower rates of criminality, higher rates of the completion of secondary and post-secondary education, and increased likelihood of social stability.
3. Even if class sizes are large, any REDUCTION in class size helps.
4. The more experienced the teacher, the greater the impact of REDUCED class sizes. This makes logical sense but is backed up by research showing that teachers can provide more individualized attention in smaller classes and that fewer classroom management issues arise in smaller classes.
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