TeachME Professional Development

How Class Size Impacts Student Outcomes

1. Research supports the common sense notion that class size is an important determinant of student outcomes, and that children learn more and teachers are more effective in smaller classes.

A. True

B. False


Evidence From Tennessee's STAR Randomized Experiment

2. A follow-up study of Tennessee's STAR experiment comparing student achievement in regular and smaller size classrooms determined that teachers used a variety of strategies that enabled them to be more successful in the smaller environments, including each of the following EXCEPT:

A. They closely monitored the progress of student learning in their classes

B. They were able to reward effort, motivation, and production more readily than teachers in larger size classrooms

C. They were able to reteach using alternative strategies when children did not learn a concept

D. They maintained superior personal interactions with their students


Results From Statewide Class-Size Reduction Policies

3. Results from the most widely studied class-size reduction policy, the 1996 California law that gave strong monetary incentives to schools to reduce class size in grades K-3 to 20 or fewer students, showed:

A. The policy was nearly universally adopted within a short period of time, so there was very little opportunity to compare early implemention results with later results

B. Test scores were only available starting in grade 4, so any evaluation of the policy was forced to use test scores from later than the year in which the reduced class size was experienced

C. Although there were positive impacts on achievement due to class-size reductions, these impacts may have been offset because many inexperienced teachers had to be hired to staff the new classrooms, reducing average teacher quality

D. All of the above


Why Are Small Classes More Effective?

4. Small classes may have a positive impact on the amount of effort put forth, initiative taken, and participation by the student, which are known as "execution actions."

A. True

B. False


5. While some policymakers and education analysts have recently argued that manipulating other educational inputs would be more effective than class-size reduction, these suggestions do not generally pit class-size reductions against some other policy alternative that has been implemented and evaluated.

A. True

B. False


6. Which of the following is NOT one of the factors that needs to be examined to determine if paying high-quality teachers bonus payments for taking on extra students could be an effective policy to improve student achievement?

A. Will the impact that high-quality teachers have on their students' standardized test scores in these larger classrooms translate to other important skills such as school engagement, perseverance, and motivation?

B. How large is the skill differential between teachers?

C. How large of a bonus payment is required to induce the experienced teacher to accept a larger class?

D. Do gains persist over time?


Recommendations

7. Overall, evidence suggests that increasing class-size will harm not only children's test scores in the short run but also their long-term human capital formation, and that the payoff from class-size reduction is larger for low-income and minority children, while any increases in class size will likely be most harmful to these populations.

A. True

B. False


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