Class Size Matters

October 5, 2016

Class size effects are real. In literacy and mathematics in both kindergarten and first grade, studies supports these findings:

  • Children learn more in small classrooms
  • Large classrooms are detrimental to student learning
  • Literacy gains are reduced in large elementary schools
  • Small classrooms foster more positive environments with fewer student disruptions

The results: Large is Bad.

Size Alone Makes Small Classes Better for Kids

New findings from four nations, including the U.S, tell a curious story. Small classes work for children, but that’s less because of how teachers teach than because of what students feel they can do – get more face time with their teacher, for instance, or work in small groups with classmates.

“Small classes are more engaging places for students because they’re able to have a more personal connection with teachers, simply by virtue of the fact that there are fewer kids in the classroom competing for that teacher’s attention,” says Adam Gamoran of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who analyzed the findings.

Overall, research shows that students in smaller classes perform better in all subjects and on all assessments when compared to their peers in larger classes. In smaller classes students tend to be as much as one to two months ahead in content knowledge, and they score higher on standardized assessments. It is worth noting, however, that some studies analyze student assessment results in terms of individual student performance and others in terms of class-wide aggregated performance, which can obscure the differences in individual students’ performances. That’s why at Holdheide Academy in Woodstock, GA, we offer student teacher ratios that are small, so students can learn individually.

The positive effects of small class sizes are strongest for elementary school students, and they become more powerful and enduring the longer students are in smaller classes. That is, students who have smaller classes in early elementary grades continue to benefit from this experience even if they are in larger classes in upper elementary or middle school (Bruhwiler & Blatchford, 2011; Chingos, 2013). Cherokee county has great schools, but let’s face it, private child centers offer the smallest class sizes. Contact Holdheide Academy in Woodstock to learn what the student-teacher ratio is for your child age 6 weeks to 2nd grade.

The data, from the U.S., England, Hong Kong and Switzerland, was presented at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting, the world’s largest gathering of education researchers. Additional information on class sizes.


Why Class Size Matters
U.S. Students Falling Behind in Education (video)
Improving Teaching and Leadership for the 21st Century: Lessons from around the World
Teaching for Understanding—Within and Across the Disciplines by Howard Gardner and Veronica Boix-Mansilla
Disciplining the Mind by Veronica Boix-Mansilla and Howard Gardner
Howard Gardner: Thought for the Future
Upgrading Our Global Skills for Lifelong Learning

Holdheide Academy’s founder, Tammy Dorsten, has spent more than 20 years as an educator and has used her training and experience to carefully craft the curriculum for our Woodstock Preschool and Prep School.  The curriculum at Holdheide Academy gathers together the absolute best elements of childhood education for Cherokee county families. We offer daycare for infants from 6 weeks, preschool for toddlers through Pre-Kindergarten, and Elementary school for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade.