Small Class Size Doesn’t Translate to Academic Success, Study Shows

In Education

Research challenges the conventional belief that smaller class sizes improve academic performance, particularly for low-income students. Despite the common assumption, reducing classroom overcrowding may not significantly enhance grades, according to recent findings.

Academic success not linked to classroom size

Chinese researchers examined data from more than 2,700 economically disadvantaged secondary school students and discovered that smaller class sizes don’t necessarily improve academic performance, and might even hinder it. Moreover, the availability of teachers didn’t significantly affect the academic success of students from impoverished backgrounds, despite concerns about teacher shortages.

The study led by Professor Tao Jiang from Taizhou University suggests that the quality of teachers is more crucial than the number of teachers in ensuring students’ resilience. Jiang and a team of researchers from various Chinese universities examined disadvantaged students in China and Japan and found that resilience, the ability to overcome challenges and excel academically, is largely shaped by high-quality teachers who enforce discipline and use effective teaching techniques.

The focus on decreasing class sizes is deemed unnecessary by Jiang, who argues that it hinders the development of resilient students. Jiang suggests redirecting financial resources towards hiring proficient science teachers for better educational outcomes.

It is important to prioritize investments in improving teaching quality over reducing class sizes in education resource allocation. It emphasizes the role of quality teachers in fostering academic resilience among students facing economic disadvantages. The study aims to identify factors contributing to student resilience, highlighting the significance of effective teaching methods and classroom management in developing this trait.

Resilience in students important in how students perform

The study assessed resilience levels of 15 to 16-year-old participants and categorizing them based on their resilience. It explored how classroom dynamics, school resources, and educational culture influenced students’ resilience, using data from the 2015 Program of International Student Assessment (PISA).

Results emphasized the importance of science teachers and their teaching methods in fostering resilience among students. Factors such as classroom discipline, teacher-directed instruction, inquiry-based learning, and teacher support were found to be beneficial. Inquiry-based teaching in Japan and teacher-directed instruction in Macau were highlighted as significant predictors of high resilience levels.

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