Class size has minimal impact on teaching quality

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New research from the Melbourne Education Research Institute claims that class size has very little impact on a child’s quality of education.

The research by Professor John Hattie, which was reported in The Telegraph, shows that teachers tend to stick to their teaching approach regardless of the number of students they have in class. As a result, reducing class size has a very small effect on the quality of teaching.

Professor Hattie looked at evidence from a total of 113 studies in developed nations over the last 25 years to come to his conclusions.

The research reveals that lowering the number of pupils in the classroom adds around four months of teaching per year, whilst focusing on getting a teacher with the best expertise adds about two years for every year of teaching.

Professor Hattie’s research also found that the classroom a student is assigned to within a school matters more than the school itself.

The research discusses the key distractions that drive education policy - appeasing the parents, where policies are aimed at appeasing parents; fix the infrastructure - where demands are made for more effective curricula, more rigorous standards, more tests etc., to improve learning; fixing the students - where there is a focus on providing early childhood education systems to improve outcomes; fixing the schools, where new forms of schools are invented; and fixing the teachers - where the system is only as good as the teacher and teacher standards must be raised.

Professor Hattie said: ”For two kids of the same ability it almost doesn’t matter which school they go to, but it matters who teaches them.

“The choice is not either about large or small classes or whether it is an academy or not. Instead, parents should be comparing class size with teachers’ expertise.”

School Leadership Today
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