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The Benefits of Small Class Sizes

June 28, 2016

The Benefits of Small Class Sizes

There are many reasons to consider private school enrollment for your child, but perhaps the most compelling is the smaller class size private institutions offer. In study after study, children who are placed in smaller classes improve their educational performance in every way that can be measured, including better test scores and higher grades.

Smaller classes also improve student's engagement and happiness levels as well as student health. Here is a look at just a handful of the benefits a smaller class size provides.

Improved Performance 

In smaller classes, teachers are able to spend more time with each student and provide more one-on-one attention to students who need extra help. Fewer students means teaching to fewer learning styles, making it easier for teachers to take the most effective approach for students. On average, students in smaller classes run two months ahead of their peers in larger classes. Reducing class size has proven most effective with poor and minority students. This finding is significant as these students often lag behind national averages on standardized tests. Simply reducing class sizes, however, reduces this gap by 38 percent.

Student Engagement 

Students in smaller classes not only perform better but are more engaged in the learning process. Students are much more likely to ask questions and participate in group discussions when placed in a classroom with fewer students. Students themselves report feeling a stronger connection to their teacher in smaller classes and are more likely to stay focused and attentive, perhaps because drifters and daydreamers are more noticeable when fewer students are present. Disruptive behavior and discipline problems decline in smaller classrooms as well, allowing teachers to spend their time teaching the material rather than dealing with rowdiness.

Health Benefits 

Private school enrollment may improve the physical health of students as well as their academic performance. It has long been known that people who receive a better education are healthier and live longer than those who don't. This occurs in part because a better education grants access to better job opportunities and health insurance access. It follows then that improved education leads to improved lifelong health. Students may also be healthier while in school, as smaller classes mean fewer people and germs in the same room. Children are less likely to be exposed to ill and contagious peers in smaller classrooms.

Teacher Retention 

Smaller classes also lead to happier teachers who are more apt to stay at their current school than to seek opportunities elsewhere. Good teachers care about their students and want to reach them. Small classes make it easier for teachers to adapt their teaching to the learning styles of their students and to reach out to them in meaningful ways. When good teachers aren't able to connect with students due to large classes, teachers often seek positions elsewhere so they can see the difference they are making. This sometimes robs students in public schools of the chance to be inspired by truly great teachers. Smaller classes help teachers be more effective and happier.

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