How Does Class Size Affect Learning?

The question of whether class size has a dramatic effect on learning is a long-standing and controversial debate. Nonetheless, it's a totally valid debate, and many educational institutions are taking the time to consider the impact that their general class sizes might actually have on the overall education of the students. It goes without saying that there will be some people who believe there will be some kind of effect, when changing sizes of classes, but whether or not a larger or smaller class produces a 'better' standard of education is more controversial.

The general consensus by most educational institutions so far, however, shows that the class size actually has little to not impact on the ability of students to retain information, or use that information in context when it comes to their exams and their studies. Some people consider the research that has proven this, however, to be rather inconclusive and incorrect.

Many people work from the general assumption that it's always better to have as small a class as possible. Most people who aren't even involved with the teaching profession would think that a smaller class would result in better quality education and a higher ability to retain and use information. This has been proven time and time again to be little more than a misguided assumption. A number of research papers have actually concluded that those who study in a larger class are quite simply able to achieve the same quality of education, and are able to perform just as well in exams as those who will have had rather an 'exclusive' education.

Some people argue those traditional professionals, and those who are experienced in the field of teaching, share the belief that those who have a more 'exclusive' education and experience a smaller classroom environment will receive a better quality education and in the end will leave with a greater ability to put their studies into context and into action. This simple argument is often brought down by the idea that those who are more motivated to do well in their studies, and those who usually perform better than most anyway, will actually seek out smaller classes in higher quality educational establishments.

The fact that high-achieving students will look for smaller classrooms will show why any potential countering-evidence and statistics are simply the result of high-achievers existing in smaller classes and slightly less high-achieving students existing in larger classes. Subsequently, the evidence can only prove that small classes achieve higher grades because of the students that make up the classes, not because of the particular method of teaching.

Of course, educational establishment and teachers as individuals will make up their own minds based on their experience, and their 'manifesto', so to say, for teaching young people. Oftentimes educational establishments will try out different methods to ensure that people are receiving the high quality education that they need, and this might mean they will experience will different sized classes. It must be noted that it can't do any harm to the students, however.