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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: class size

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

August 29, 2014 at 5:00 AM

How to improve schools? Some students say: Lower class size

Over six days in the past few weeks, 13 high school students, about to enter 12th grade, tackled a tough question: Is education equitable in Seattle, and if it’s not, why?

The students are all part of the prestigious Rainier Scholars program, selected in part because most hope to be the first in their families to attend college. From the time they’re in middle school, the program offers participants a big dose of academic enrichment, along with leadership training and social-emotional support.

Rainier Scholars Cohort VII

Students in Cohort VII in the Rainier Scholars program, who spent a half-dozen days this summer researching educational equity in Seattle. Photos courtesy of Rainier Scholars.

When it came time to present their findings,  the students clicked through Power Points full of statistics — everything from data showing that Ballard High’s PTA often raises more in one year than Franklin High does in 10, to maps showing how far students from low-income neighborhoods have to travel if they want to attend many of the city’s best-performing schools.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: class size, Rainier Scholars

November 26, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Guest: Strong teacher or not, class size still matters

Gary Plano

Gary Plano

The simulated study on the effect strong teachers can have on students, released last week by the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, makes an excellent point about the value of excellent educators. Certainly we all agree that great teachers make great schools.

What the simulation does not do is stack up against the volumes of research showing conclusively that smaller class sizes have a dramatic impact on student performance. Research on class size has been conducted in states across the country, and from California to Wisconsin the results are the same — smaller classes mean higher student achievement.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion | Topics: class size, Gary Plano, Mercer Island

November 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Which is better: Smaller class sizes for all or more students for strong teachers?

A new article in The Atlantic raises an ongoing question about class sizes: Is it better to put a lot of students in the classroom of an excellent teacher, or lower class sizes for all teachers?

That debate has been going on for some time, and, despite the conclusion of a new report described in The Atlantic, probably will continue.

The report, based on a simulation of data from North Carolina, says that excellent teachers are a better investment than small class sizes.

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: CALDER, class size, Class Size Counts