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Classroom Size Reduction (CSR): Do smaller classrooms correlate to higher achievement?

Do classroom size reduction, (CSR) programs help students?

This topic has been highly analyzed and debated for decades; do smaller classrooms correlate to higher achievement? In reference to Schanzenbach, D. W. (2014), “Does Class Size Matter?”, it’s been stated that size DOES matter, especially with mid to lower-income students.  CSR has been associated with lowering the achievement gap in students.  It’s also been instrumental in recruiting efforts.  Teachers with a well-prepared plan will see better results in CSR.

Why Would CSR Benefit Mid-Lower Income Students?

One theory is that the lower income students benefit from the more one on one interaction and having a more intimate classroom allows for better focus.  Additionally, as each student learns at a different pace, it’s easily identifiable.

Does CSR Help in Teacher Recruitment?

Having the option to teach a smaller pool of students makes for a greater opportunity to make a difference.  A smaller classroom is also less stressful.  Another benefit to CSR in your district is allowing the teacher to engage better with their students and adapting their programs more individually without the fear of diluting the process.

Is CSR Always Better?

One of the explanations for so much debate on the topic is that arguably, many studies don’t take all factors into consideration.  For example, district size, geography, and other demographics must be similar. One commonality with better achievement outcomes is with smaller districts in rural areas.  There seems to be a correlation of higher achievement to lower class size in the lower grades, K-3.  We can expect to see more studies and analyses in the future.  Keep your eye on those demographic factors to make an educated decision on what is best in your district.

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