Understanding the Importance of Class Size

Jan 11, 2018 by

Searching for the right high school to place your child in can be overwhelming.  With so many options to choose from – typical public schools, public preparatory schools, charter schools, and even boarding schools – knowing which one will best suit your child can be difficult.

And, while reputation, safety record, and available extracurricular activities are all important things to consider when making your final decision, something you shouldn’t forget is class size.

The size of your child’s classroom can have a significant impact on their ability to learn and thrive.

That’s why understanding the differences observed in both large and smaller class sizes is crucial when choosing which type of school to place your teen in.

Large Classes

In the late 1930s, Harvard University president, James Conant, suggested that larger schools were beneficial to the student population because they offered more opportunities when it came to Latin, Greek, and vocation preparation courses.

However, as the country’s population boomed and student enrollment increased, others began to take note of the negative impact larger class sizes were having on the overall academic performance of students at every level.

  • Increased lack of intimacy and teacher interaction with students
  • Less one-on-one engagement during class
  • Reliance on teaching assistants to accommodate overpopulated schools

In addition, students began to take on more responsibility for their classwork than ever before, only getting face-to-face help if they sought the teacher outside of normal class times.

Small Classes

On the other hand, as some schools began to focus on smaller class sizes, there seemed to be a significant shift in overall student performance.

In fact, teachers began to notice the following benefits as a result of smaller class sizes:

  • There was a more personal, intimate atmosphere amongst teachers and students
  • It became easier for students to adjust socially
  • There were less behavior or learning issues
  • Teachers were more readily available to help individual students
  • There was an increase in class discussions and student involvement
  • Student assessments and future plans were more easily performed
  • Students were able to focus more readily on their assignments

Additionally, it is thought that teachers thrive more when they have smaller class sizes, which carry over into your child’s education.  Those that are not overwhelmed with students and lacking in resources and materials can do a better job instructing students.

More so, there is less classroom management going on and more actual teaching.  Plus, students become more accountable in smaller class settings, and even human relations amongst peers improve because of the intimate atmosphere smaller class sizes provide both teacher and student.

What About Boarding Schools?

In the end, it is suggested that students do better in smaller scale schools, such as Besant Hill boarding school.  In fact, Besant Hill boasts an average class size of 10, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 4:1, while the average United States public high school has an average class size of 17.7.

Although boarding schools are not for everyone, the fact that they can better address your child’s individual needs, thanks to their significantly lower class sizes, may be enough for you to consider placing your child in one.

With a renewed sense of self and a firmer grasp on what college academics will be like, students attending boarding schools benefit from being in tightly knit classrooms with their closest peers.

In addition, they experience things such as extracurricular sports, community service projects, and involvement in creative outlets such as performing arts, music, or painting.

Altogether, the high school you place your child in has the potential to shape their future, especially if they plan to attend university.

Take the time to consider all aspects of the school you want your teen enrolled in, class size included, and make sure they will be gaining the best education they can get so that they can succeed into adulthood.

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