Does Class Size Affect Student Outcomes? Research Paper Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1801 Words
Date:  2022-05-09


Several research and studies have analyzed and investigated the effect of class sizes in schools on the attitude, outcomes, and behavior of students. An overwhelming majority of these research and studies focused on elementary, pre-school and the middle-level effects of the class size on achievement, progress, and welfare of students. As a result, from the research done previously on this topic, the conventional knowledge of parents, policymakers, students, teachers, and instructors was that small class result to improvement in student improvement in learning activities and their co-curricular activities. This wisdom has support from empirical research and evidence universally. However, other studies have refuted these assumptions on the effect of small classes on the performance of students despite an overwhelming support from other studies. In their argument, they claim that the effect of class size has a marginal impact on the outcome of students (Birenbaum, Earl, Heritage et al, pg. 120).

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There were difficulties in assessing the actual size of classrooms and their influence on student performance like achievement were; the classrooms themselves were not observed directly but proxied by the ratio of pupil-teacher at the school state and district level. This approximation and ration evaluation were key in determining the impact of the teacher-student ration on the outcomes of the student progress in schools. The second challenge was that the data sets used in the analysis of this research were cross-sectional that did not allow introduction or declaration of one fixed variable for the students, teachers, classrooms and the effects of schools. In addition, the size of the classroom has a possibility of becoming endogenous on the outcome of students. Nonetheless, the consensus among researchers has it that if the sizes of classes are important variables in the research, then it has a pronounced effect on the lowest grade levels (Angrist, Lavy, Leder-Luis and Shany, 2017).

Small classes have a greater advantage since it reduced the ratio of teacher to student. This increases the concentration, academic progress and bridging the bond between the students and teachers. Small classes do not necessarily mean the physical construction of classrooms but the number of students available in that class compared to the teacher. In most cases, from the inferential research, students have a low level of concentration, teacher-student communication, and performances in large classes. This is mainly because the teachers are not capable to manage the concentration and monitor the development and performance of the student due to the workload. This paper is of interest since it seeks to find the effect of class sizes on the performance of the students even all educational equipment is of the standard. Some parents are misled by the performance of an institution or school without looking at the teacher-student ratio (Class size) that will be essential in the development of the students' academic and co-curricular performances. This paper will evaluate critical issues in order to have an accurate conclusion on the topic. First, it will use reliable and feasible estimation methods of the class size that will form the main basis for the research (Angrist, Lavy, Leder-Luis and Shany, 2017).

Different methods of Estimate Class Size

STAR project

The best empirical evidence on the impacts of the size of classroom reduction comes from Tennessee-student-teacher-Achievement-Ratio experiment (the S.T.A.R). Application of a randomized experiment is the most preferred method of experimentation since there is no bias during and after conducting an experiment of a social science. In the star, more than 11500 students and teachers totaling to 1300 in seventy-nine Tennessee elementary institutions were assigned to small regular sized classes randomly from 1985 to 1989. During the experiment, the student samples were in kindergarten up to the third grades. As a result, any differences in the outcome of the STAR experiment was attributed with a lot of confidence since it applied the use of random sampling too small based classes on the student achievement levels, parental involvement and socioeconomic backgrounds (Angrist and Lavy, 1999).

The results from the STAR experiment were unequivocal. The achievement of student s in mathematics and reading of standardized tests increased by a standard deviation of 0.20 from 0.15 form the randomized assignment to small-size classes of about 13 to 17 students contrary to the normal 22 to 25 students per class. The outcome variable changed by the increase in gains, thus the STAR strategy was regarded effective in reducing the gap between the white and black race due to the increased performance of the black race. This was shown by a positive standard deviation of the black race in academic performance when they were assigned to small-sized classrooms. The benefits of small-sized classes in the STAR experiment were also to the students coming from low socioeconomic standards of the households that as measured by the eligibility of the lunch program that is lowly priced (Angrist, Lavy, Leder-Luis and Shany, 2017).

An analysis of the effective STAR- teachers found that the teachers applied several strategies to promote and improve learning and the presence of the small-sized class allowed the strategies to be effective. One example of learning strategy applied by the teachers in this experiment was monitoring and student progress evaluation that enabled the teachers to recognize the abilities and weakness of individual student (Immediate effect) due to the reduced ratio. As a result, teachers focused at maximizing the student abilities and improving the weakness that led to positive outcomes in the student class performance and co-curricular activities as long-term effects. The teachers were able to re-teach the students to ensure that they understood classwork that is a casual effect (Angrist, Lavy, Leder-Luis and Shany, 2017).

The Tennessee STAR experiment was he pioneering randomized study in the education field that an estimation of the effect of smaller classes in pre and kindergarten institutions of learning. Labor economists and researchers have tried to establish the correlation between students learning and the features of the class environment. They used a traditional methodology and technique of analysis thus making this area an education production that reflects the effects of class environments and cost of learning on the performance and well-being of the student in an institution. An important question in this research is what are the inputs of education that yield the most learning and co-curricular outcomes given the cost of their education. As a result, the most expensive aspect or item in this research is the input of small-size classes that can only be achieved by hiring additional teachers. This is mainly because the introduction of small-size classrooms will hold few numbers of students compared to the normal educational standards. As a result, additional teachers must be hired to cater for the excess classrooms that will be available in the sample institutions. The STAR experiment aimed at answering the question of the impact of expensive small-size classrooms on the educational achievement of the students (Angrist, Lavy, Leder-Luis and Shany, 2017).

Many analysis and research on education production by use of non-experimental data argue that there is little or no connection between the classroom sizes and the learning of students. As a result, the institution can at the financial expense of hiring teachers with a marginal reduction in student achievement. They suggest that the relationship between student achievement and the size of a class should not have a facial value point of view since poor-performing students have a possibility randomized grouping into one classroom. As a result, the hypothesis of the impact of class size on the performance of students is not comprehensive and inaccurate. The results from Tennessee research points a strong payoff to the small classes. The STAR experiment lasted for four years until the cohort of the kindergarten students reached the third grade, a study that involved a number of 11500 children each class having approximately 13 to 17 students, unlike the previous setting where a class carried 22 to 25 students. In the experiment, the first question was to prove the randomization of the randomized experiment if it successfully balanced the subjects across different groups of treatment. This was assessed by a common comparison of the pre-treatment results or the covariates across the sample groups.

Estimating the effect of class-size: The Maimonides Rule

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in concerns on class-size and academic interests that are not a current phenomenon in the research sector. The choice of the class-size has been of great concern to the scholar's instructors, teachers, and curriculum developers. The twelfth-century scholar Maimonides interpreted the discussion of Talmud concerning the size classes. This was that 25 children put in charge of one teacher and if the number exceeds 25 but does not exceed 40, the teacher should have an assistant who will assist in performing the teaching roles on behalf of the teacher since the workload will be overwhelming. Therefore, if the number of students exceeds 40, the institution should appoint two teachers to handle the number. The Maimonides number of 40 students came from the Talmudic rule that leads to the introduction of small-size classes. According to the Talmudic rule, the maximum number of student s in a classroom should not exceed 49 students (Gerard Rokkanen and Rothe, pg. 250).

The main purpose of Maimonides' rule is that since 1969, the rule has played a key role to determine the enrollment cohort division into classes in the Israel schools thus the maximum number of 40 students is well conversant to teachers and principals of the public schools. This rule circulated from the Director General of Ministry of Education shown in the below. This rule generated an exogenous source of variation in the size of the classrooms that is applicable in the estimation of the classroom-size effects on scholastic progress and achievement of the pupils in Israel. In order to understand the variation, it is important to note that according to the rule of Maimonides, the class size upticks 1to1 ration as the number of student's increases to 40. Therefore, an enrolment of the 41st student in the class, there will be a drastic drop in the average class of 20.5 pupils. In this work, we induce the rule of Maimonides to construct the instrumental variables of the class size estimates (Hox, Moerbeek, and van de Schoot, 2017).

Discussion of results

The application of Maimonides rule for the effects of class-size produces estimated zeros in many samples taken from the Israeli samples that pooled test scores from the year 2002 to 2011. These samples indicate a strong evidence of manipulations of the enrollment in November around the Maimonides cutoffs of class-sizes that reflected the desire and urge of kindergarten school leaders to start up additional classes when close to the cutoff. The enrollment imputed by applying the student's eligible birth dates was not affected by the manipulation while the 2SLS estimation produced similar cases of the effects of small-sized classes thus explaining the reasons for different effects (Barreca, Lindo, and Waddell, pg. 269).

The effects are credible since there as an application of random sampling preventing the e...

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