Class Size Makes a Difference

Classrooms are a place to learn, converse with peers, and interact with teachers. They are places of discovery that ultimately enhance the minds of high school students like me.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average class size in private schools is nineteen students. Correspondingly, the student-to-teacher ratio in private schools is 12.2–1 . Which leads me to wonder – are smaller classrooms better for students?

A study from the National Education Policy Center at UC Boulder provides a comprehensive look at this issue. The author claims that class size matters. She explains that students tend to learn more, and teachers are more productive in small-sized classes. She highlights some positive characteristics of smaller class sizes. That is, smaller classrooms benefit student outcomes and increase test scores. In small classes, there is more student engagement and participation. Using research from STAR classrooms, the study found that students in smaller classes spent more time on task. The study also found that teachers played a significant role in these classes. In small classes, teachers could spend more time on instruction. As a result, the teacher administers a more engaging class experience. STAR researchers suggest a class reduction from twenty-two to fifteen students as a result of their study performed in Tennessee public schools.  

However, while smaller class sizes may benefit the student, there are of course some disadvantages. One study argues that small classrooms generally require more teachers and space, which cuts school budgets. There are even some benefits of larger classes. Teachers are usually unavailable to assist all of their students in larger classrooms. As a result, students learn independently and are more self-motivated to complete their tasks. In addition, larger classrooms build teamworking skills as students usually work together in groups.

At The Prep, class size matters. My average class size is approximately nineteen students. While this number may be slightly higher than the suggested average, I still benefit from a condensed class size. I can spend more time with a teacher if I need help, and I get to know more of my peers. Teachers instruct more effectively in small classrooms at The Prep, supporting the research from the STAR project. Smaller class sizes allow students to interact, communicate, and strengthen the Seton Hall Prep brotherhood. Generally, a smaller class size enhances both student and teacher experiences in the classroom.