You may hear from public administrators, educational policy experts, and politicians who believe class size does not pose a variable for educational success. Despite these opinions, we at MPA believe small class sizes do matter; they make a difference. If we as educators and administrators are to guide and develop future leaders, it is imperative to understand the importance of class size in your child’s education. We would love to share with you five reasons why small class sizes do matter, especially at MPA.
- Reduced classes reduce the achievement gap between students of color.
According to a recent study by Northwestern University Associate Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, smaller class sizes positively raise achievement success of minority students as well as students in lower socioeconomic levels. In fact, Schanzenbach discovered through Project STAR, that minority students in the primary grades benefitted most from smaller class sizes, with their achievements in reading and mathematics reflecting gains.
At MPA, we believe economic and ethnic diversity enriches the educational opportunity for all families and participation of a wide range of families is critical to the health of the school.
- Classes become communities.
Smaller class sizes allow students to fully engage with one another and their teacher, especially in the early childhood years. These deep relationships set a critical and solid foundation of education expectations. Small classes provide students a nurturing environment to share their thoughts and perspectives while creating lasting friendships.
At MPA, we encourage full-voiced participation and safe intellectual risk-taking, giving every student the opportunity to speak up and stand out.
- Students receive more one-on-one attention from the teacher.
Small class sizes provide qualified educators the opportunity to assess classes both as a whole and students as individuals. By providing students with more one-on-one attention from instruction to feedback, teachers helps students develop “useful habits and ideas about themselves and their abilities” (Biddle and Berliner).
At MPA, our teachers invite dialogue, infuse relevance into lessons, and forge meaningful connections with students because they know real learning takes real relationships.
- Teachers can tailor instruction individually.
By increasingly knowing their students on a personal basis through meaningful relationships, teachers with small classes can tailor instruction effectively for each child. When educators meet children where they are intellectually and help them achieve success, students experience a boost in confidence. This is also possible because teachers spend less time on classroom management and more time on instruction.
At MPA, we understand when children feel cared for and respected, they put forth more effort in the classroom and exceed expectations. In fact, our teachers are always talking to each other about new ideas for projects and how to present material to students in a more interesting way.
- Student outcomes are increasingly positive.
Students are receptive to their teachers, and with smaller class sizes, teachers have higher morale and more passion, which leads to increased outcomes. In fact, numerous studies proved the effects are strongest for elementary school students, whose standardized scores were higher when put in small classes compared to their counterparts in larger class.
At MPA, our Class of 2017 scored an average ACT Composite Score of 32 and our graduates have been admitted to 371 colleges and universities including 33 of the Top 50 in the United States.
In an era where class sizes seem to climb higher each year, MPA bucks the status quo and maintains small class sizes for our students. With an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of no more than 18 students, MPA allows students and faculty to encounter a positive, proactive learning environment which engages the whole child, inspires the independent learner, and prepares future global leaders to make a positive difference in the world.
By Lauren Hensel
Mrs. Hensel is our Associate Director of Admissions.