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Class Size

  • By: Mark Fugate
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Class size is a different concept than teacher–pupil ratio (i.e., the ratio of the number of students per teacher); it is defined by the number of students who are educated in a single classroom. Although there is no research that suggests an optimum class size, there is research that identifies potential benefits for classes of fewer than 20 children in kindergarten through third grade.

In the 1980s and 1990s, several states initiated Class Size Reduction (CSR) programs, which produced a variety of program evaluation data (e.g., Project STAR/Tennessee; Project Sage/Wisconsin; the California CSR program; Project Prime Time/Indiana; Burke County Schools/North Carolina). Typically, CSR occurred in the primary grades (K–3). Overall, the information gained from these projects suggests that class size of fewer than 20 (i.e., ...

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