Impact of Class Size on Education
September 9, 2022
It’s the start of the 2022 – 2023 school year and once again SDA is faced with the controversial problem of increasingly large freshmen classes. While SDA welcomes all students there is only so many it can take while maintaining a safe and productive school environment.
It is important to recognize the effect that class sizes have on an individual’s education. According to Fremont University, ¨A class size of fewer than 20 students often results in more individual attention, increased participation, and better communication between the instructor and students.¨ In smaller class settings students are able to receive more personalized instruction and feedback to further improve their intellectual abilities. Furthermore, smaller class sizes allow teachers to evidently see who is actively involved in the class, motivating students to participate as much as possible. Active participation in the classroom enables students to understand the different perspectives and ideas from their peers, resulting in a more effective learning experience.
Currently at SDA a majority of classes contain 30 or more students, that is 10 or more students than is recommended for a productive learning environment. As reported by the ChicagoAcademic article, ¨The Adverse Effects of Larger Classrooms on Today’s Students,¨ larger classrooms result in a more disruptive environment, less personalized learning, and a larger strain on teachers. Students are often less inclined to participate in large class sizes as there are significantly more distractions than in a smaller class sizes. Active and engaged students are better learners. Less student participation often leads to a loss of learning as students are not present and engaged in the class. Larger class settings make it more difficult for teachers to offer personalized instruction, because most of their time is spent regulating the classroom rather than providing effective instruction.
However, larger class sizes offer more learning diversity. According to AcademyToday, ¨Larger classes offer students a much less isolated learning experience; with a larger pool of peers to collaborate with, students can enrich their critical thinking skills, and develop their awareness, . . .¨ Larger class sizes allow students to communicate and collaborate with a wider range of students from various backgrounds. It is important for students to be familiar with a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds in order to succeed in today’s globally interconnected world. A familiarity with a wide set of different backgrounds allows students to have success in college and future work opportunities. While this may be true, larger class sizes still call into question the productivity of a student’s learning experience in a larger classroom.
Those who are in opposition to reducing classroom sizes recognize the educational benefits that a smaller class size provides. However, as stated by the PublicSchoolReview, the value of smaller class sizes is determined by¨ . . . cost-benefit analysis . . . to conclude that the cost for reducing class sizes are too high for what they call the slight benefits. They claim that it would be more cost effective to focus on reform measures other than class reduction, such as high academic standards, more challenging curricula, more qualified teachers, and more support for teachers.¨ Those in power to reduce classroom size claim that it is too expensive to do so. They believe that the benefit to small class sizes is so slight that it would not be worth the money. The value of education does not have a price tag. All the money in the world can not equate to the ability for someone to educate themselves. Education must be a priority, not a business. Everyone deserves a productive and engaging educational experience and it should not be revoked because of convenience.