Education Report Roundup

British Study Tracks Effect of Class Size

By Debra Viadero — January 11, 2005 1 min read

A British study suggests that students at the upper elementary school level don’t learn more in small classes than they do in large ones.

A summary of “The Effects of Class Size on Attainment and Classroom Processes in English Primary Schools (Years 4 to 6) 2000-2003" is available online from the U.K. Department of Education and Skills. ()

The study, published last month by researchers from the University of London’s Institute of Education, tracked the academic progress of 21,000 British children over three years of schooling. Looking at students’ annual scores on tests of mathematics, English, and science, the researchers conclude, for the most part, that class size seemed to matter little to the students’ academic progress.

The new findings run counter to some of the institute’s earlier work on the impact of class size. In those studies, researchers found that smaller classes seemed to boost academic achievement in the first year or two of school, particularly for children from disadvantaged families.

A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2005 edition of Education Week