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Topic: Class-Size Reduction: Better Than You Think
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,744
Registered: 12/3/04
Class-Size Reduction: Better Than You Think
Posted: Feb 18, 2014 2:44 PM
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*******************************
From the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), Tuesday, February
18, 2014. See
http://nepc.colorado.edu/newsletter/2014/02/does-class-size-matter
*******************************
Class-Size Reduction: Better Than You Think

NEPC policy brief finds strong evidence for the benefits of making
classes smaller

Contact:
William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net
Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, (847) 491-3884, dws@northwestern.edu

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/k7j64z2

BOULDER, CO (February 18, 2014) - While a series of high-profile and
often controversial school reforms has gotten the lion's share of
attention from policymakers over the last decade or two, one reform
appears to have been consistently ignored and marginalized: reducing
the size of classes.

Yet, as Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach points out in a new
policy brief released today, the evidence that class size reduction
helps raise student achievement is strong. Schanzenbach's report,
Does Class Size Matter?, published today by the National Education
Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, provides
a comprehensive review of class-size research.

According to Professor Schanzenbach, class-size reduction has been
the victim of a popular misconception that the strategy has been
largely unsuccessful. One recent example, Schanzenbach notes, is the
writer Malcolm Gladwell, who in a recent book describes small class
sizes as a "thing we are convinced is such a big advantage [but]
might not be such an advantage at all."

In fact, she writes, the real story is just the opposite. "Class size
matters," writes Schanzenbach, an economist and education policy
professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. "Research
supports the common-sense notion that children learn more and
teachers are more effective in smaller classes."

Citing evidence from the academic literature, Schanzenbach explains
that "class size is an important determinant of a variety of student
outcomes ranging from test scores to broader life outcomes. Smaller
classes are particularly effective at raising achievement levels of
low-income and minority children."

Conversely, she points out, raising class size can be shown to be
harmful to children. "Money saved today by increasing class sizes
will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the
future," she writes.

"Policymakers should carefully weigh the efficacy of class-size
policy against other potential uses of funds," Schanzenbach
concludes. "While lower class size has a demonstrable cost, it may
prove the more cost-effective policy overall."
------------------------------------
Find Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach's report, Does Class Size Matter? on
the web at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/does-class-size-matter.
------------------------------------
The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and
disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education
policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic
governance of public education is strengthened when policies are
based on sound evidence. For more information on NEPC, please visit
http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This policy brief was made possible in part by the support of the
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. A copy of
this brief can be found at http://greatlakescenter.org.
----------------------------------------
The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) is housed at the
University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. Its mission is to
produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to
inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that
the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when
policies are based on sound evidence. For more information about the
NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/
******************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu



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