Class Sizes

Imogen Neale in the SST reports:

Teachers and parents are calling on the government to cap class sizes, despite a leading academic saying it’s not the size of the class but what you do with it that matters.

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association contends the Ministry of Education’s staffing formula disadvantages larger schools and puts them under pressure to have classes with more than 30 students.

It’s trying to make it an election issue and is pushing the ministry to reintroduce limits.

The PPTA would not specify an ideal size but the Sunday Star-Times understands it’s around 25. A Star-Times readers poll found that parents’ preferred class size was 15 to 24.

As reported above, the scientific research has found that class size has a minimal impact on learning outcomes, and the quality of the teacher has a major outcome.

Honorary Auckland University education professor John Hattie said this year that size was “irrelevant”.

“I’m not a fan of whether it’s 15, whether it’s 30, or whether it’s 60. We’ve proved that New Zealand has some of the best teachers in the world in classes of 25 to 30, so why are we worrying about class size?”

He was responding to reports of a British school teaching children in classes of up to 70.

We’d probably do better if we sacked the bottom 20% of teachers, and gave their salaries to the top 20% in return for taking on their classes also!

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