Testimony and Evidence To Support Small Classes, K-3.
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This testimonial presents evidence that reduced class size (CSR) has positive effects on student learning in grades K-3. Student achievement is improved in the areas of academics, behavior and discipline, citizenship and participation in and outside school, and development into competent and productive adults. The paper emphasizes that class size and pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) are not the same, despite the fact that many people use the terms interchangeably. Research consistently shows that CSR (about 15 students per teacher) reduces achievement gaps, allows teachers to teach more effectively, and increases student test scores. The positive effects associated with CSR last longer with students who start their education early in small classes. Analysis suggests that there can be nominal to no cost increases with good planning and implementation of CSR. Reluctance to adopt CSR seems to originate from ideological differences among groups, coupled with misrepresentation and misunderstanding of facts surrounding small class size; administrator reluctance, inaction, and lack of knowledge of the class-size research base; and a tradition of fragmentation produced by lack of coherence in planning and instruction to maintain a cohesive system of education. Appendices and an attachment provide supporting evidence and recommendations for small class change. (Contains 28 references.) (RT)