Size/Cooperative Learning and IT's Effects Term Paper

Pages: 60 (17351 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 13  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

African-American students seem to profit more from the SAGE experience than white students when compared with non-SAGE students. The achievement gap between African-Americans and white students widens each year (Smith, 2003).

It has been noted that class size initiatives have enjoyed wide spread support from parents, teachers, and the general public. People will still believe that smaller class sizes are a good idea and teachers report experiencing lower levels of stress and job dissatisfaction with smaller classes. This is primarily because they are better engaged with each student, and therefore, student motivation increases and discipline problems decrease. Parents believe that a teacher's individualized instruction leads to improvements in a child's academic performance. This is apparent because teachers with smaller classes have more time to interact with parents, and their knowledge of their students strengthens within those interactions (Gilman and Kiger 2003). In some districts, the economy is the deciding factor in maintaining the status quo or increasing class size. The cost is often too high for school districts struggling with budget cuts, although the research supports reducing class size.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Size/Cooperative Learning & IT's Effects Assignment

The decision to reduce class size does not assure that qualified teachers and appropriate classrooms will be available. Policymakers face serious challenges presented by America's out-of-date school buildings and the growing shortage of superior teachers. State officials from California to New York have been threatening to cut back their substantial class size reduction programs in the face of declining state revenues. The National Governors Association (NGA) estimates that approximately 44 states currently face revenue deficits. In the past, declining revenues for elementary and secondary education certainly lead to fewer fully qualified teachers and larger class sizes. Congress weighed in on the issue of reducing class size in 1998 when it funded a down payment on a Class Size Reduction program that would reduce class size by hiring 100,000 new and qualified teachers over seven years. Calculating the cost of a statewide Class Size Reduction program involves considering a number of ingredients. Initial average class size needs to be considered. The larger the drop to "small" classes, the greater the cost will be. Whether or not there is a rigid cap or flexibility in the number of students per teacher. A rigid cap will increase the cost by decreasing the final average class size. Schools will keep numbers down to ensure staying below the cap. Also to be considered in a budget for a CSR program is the cost of teachers hired. This depends on the salary scale of each district and the experience level of teachers hired. Teacher costs will increase with time as teachers move up the salary ladder. The costs of teacher support may also need to be factored in. In addition to these ingredients, in planning and creating a budget for a CSR program, one needs to consider the cost of facilities for providing new classrooms. The National Education Association currently supports a class size of 15 students in regular education programs and even smaller in programs for students with special needs. Teachers with small classes can spend time and energy helping each child succeed. Smaller classes also enhance safety, discipline and order within the classroom.

The American Federation of Teachers cites four necessary steps in order for class size reduction to be effective. The AFT suggests that the most effective classes should be between 15 and 19 students. Particular schools, especially those with low-achieving and low-income students, should be targeted. In order for class reduction to be most effective, it is essential that there is an adequate supply of qualified teachers and classroom supplies. In addition to increasing student achievement, the AFT recommends that smaller classes improve the classroom atmosphere so that students receive more individualized attention and teachers have flexibility to use different instructional approaches. With fewer students in a classroom, students are less probable to distract each other and there will be a lower level of noise. In addition to increasing student achievement, smaller classes enable teachers to know the students better and offer more extra help; recognizing learning problems, special educational needs and achievements. Smaller classes facilitate an increase in student achievement with fewer discipline problems. According to the American Federation of Teachers, by spending less time on discipline, teachers report spending more time on instruction.

The benefits of class reduction in the early grades last throughout a student's educational career. In 4th, 6th, and 8th grade, students who attended small classes in the early grades were significantly ahead of their regular-class peers in all subjects. By 8th grade, they were still ahead almost a full year ahead of their peers. The Class Size Matters Organization believes that smaller classes are a very cost-effective strategy to lower the number of students who have to repeat grades. In the Tennessee STAR study, only 15 inner-city students placed in small classes in early grades were retained through the 9th grade, compared to 44% of those from similar backgrounds in regular size classes. In high school, students who had been in smaller classes in the early grades had significantly lower dropout rates, higher grades, and received higher scores on their college entrance exams.

The Class Size Matters Organization reiterates what many other studies have also stated: with smaller class sizes, behavior problems are significantly reduced. In New York City, a principal in East Harlem reported that disciplinary referrals dropped 60% in her school one year when they instituted smaller classes. In Burke County, North Carolina, disciplinary problems and interruptions declined by more than 25% after class sizes were reduced. Lower rates of disruption and behavior problems have also been reported in Indiana and California. A survey by Public Agenda shows that among teachers themselves, smaller class sizes are seen as the most effective way to increase the quality of instruction, far above raising salaries or providing more professional development. The Class Size Matters Organization mentions that reducing class size improves teacher morale because less time is spent on discipline and classroom management. This enables the teachers to focus more on learning and individualized instruction. Smaller classes also lead to improved teacher retention. However, smaller classes have been shown to have benefits that go far beyond higher test scores. Reduced class size also leads to more parent volunteers in the classroom, and more parent involvement overall. Teachers explain that with smaller classes they have the ability to get to know both their students and their parents. Also possible with small classes, teachers are able to keep closer communication with parents about their children's educational needs.

Calculating of academic accomplishment

In measuring the potential influences of class size on accomplishment, the subject of a good calculation of academic accomplishment has been called into suspection. Kennedy and Siegfried (1997) affirm that the persuasion of class size on accomplishment relies upon the assessment of accomplishment and the outcomes of a number of studies reviewed construe that when degrees of knowledge are used, the large class approach is as successful as the small-class approaches (Alex, 2000).

On the other hand, when degrees of transfer of knowledge to novel settings, withholding of information, critical thinking, problem solving, as well as, attitude transformation or inspiration are employed, small-class conversation techniques are chosen. In light of this, it is evident that employing unsuitable or extremely easy approaches of measuring accomplishment may bring about unacceptable presumptions. In addition to that, it has been recommended that the scoring structures in educational institutions have been beleaguered by grade increases, ensuing in a ceiling outcome, with grades inside a class being more profoundly circulated in the "A" or "B" limits than in inferior limits. If so, then research studies depending on class grades as the exclusive assessment of attainment might be unacceptable because of the resultant constraint of the data limit (Alex, 2000).

Review of existing researches studies

Eight extremely important studies have been examined in this review. Out of these eight research studies, six studies are quantitative in nature, whereas two studies are qualitative. All of the research studies utilized a non-experimental pattern. The class topics of the studies covered a number of educational subjects with one study being in statistics, one study being in electrical and computer engineering, three research studies being in economics, and three research studies that comprised more than one subject.

Of the eight research studies being assessed in this paper, seven clearly identified class size in calculable language. In addition to that, relevant variables, for example sample size, as well as, sample distinctiveness, were slackly described in these research studies, and on a number of occasions were not highlighted at all. Out of the six quantitative research studies being assessed, four clearly identified "accomplishment" in expressions of class grade only.

The first of these research studies being evaluated has been carried out by Gibbs, Lucas, along with Simonite (1996). A number of classes all across different subjects were evaluated for a span of nearly ten years from 1984-85 to 1993-94.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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