Teaching Mathematics and Language Arts in Reduced Sized and Non-Reduced Sized Classrooms

by Cathy Stasz, Brian M. Stecher

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The California Class Size Reduction initiative, adopted in 1996, reduced all K-3 classes to a maximum of 20 students. Despite the political and research support for reducing class size, relatively little is known about how class size affects instructional practices. This paper draws on data from a statewide survey of Grade 3 teachers and from case studies of 16 teachers. Although teaching practices in reduced and non-reduced classes were quite similar, the analysis identified a few important differences. Teachers in reduced-size classes spent more individual time with students they had identified as poor readers and more time discussing students' personal concerns; they spent less time disciplining students.

Originally published in: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, v. 22, no. 4, Winter 2000, pp. 313-329.

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