“While decreasing class size may increase achievement on average for all types of students, it does not appear to reduce the achievement gap within a class,” said Spyros Konstantopoulos, assistant professor at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy.
Konstantopoulos’ study, which appears in the March issue of Elementary School Journal, questions commonly held assumptions about class size and the academic achievement gap -- one of the most debated and perplexing issues in education today.
The Northwestern professor worked with data from Project STAR, a landmark longitudinal study launched in 1985 by the State of Tennessee to determine whether small classes positively impacted the academic achievement of students.
Considered one of the most important investigations in education, STAR made it abundantly clear that on average small classes had a positive impact on the academic performance of all students.
For most school advocates, parents and policy makers, that finding was enough to call for smaller class size. However, Konstantopoulos found that that the children who already were high achievers were the primary beneficiaries of the extra attention smaller classes afforded.
“It is likely that high achievers are more engaged in learning opportunities and take advantage of the teaching practices that take place in smaller classes, or that they create opportunities for their own learning in smaller classes,” said Konstantoupoulos.
“Given that class size reduction is an intervention that benefits all students, it’s tempting to expect that it also will reduce the achievement gap,” he added. Previous research, however, has provided weak or no evidence that class reduction benefited lower-achieving students more than others. The Northwestern study underscores that research.
The Northwestern study findings suggest that small classes produce significantly higher variability in achievement than regular classes in kindergarten mathematics and in first grade reading. Overall the results indicate that class size reduction increases not only achievement for all students on average, but the variability in student achievement as well.
“It is unfortunate that data about classroom practices that could be useful in identifying ways of improving academic success for lower achieving students were not available in Project STAR,” Konstantopoulos said. “A new randomized experiment with the objective of collecting high-quality observational data in the classrooms would provide invaluable information about the effects of small classes.”
Wendy Leopold | EurekAlert!
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2018 | Information Technology