George Lucas Educational Foundation

Readers' Survey 2006: Ideal Class Size

Edutopia readers weigh in on their favorites.
Edutopia Team
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Credit: David Julian

Frankly, we were a little surprised no one said, "Zero." Just think of it -- no discipline problems, no papers to grade, no children to be not left behind. But clearly, Edutopia readers are made of more dedicated stuff. Though the most respondents were ready for twenty students in a class, almost as many considered fifteen just right. The third-place figure just about split the difference at eighteen.

Our Take

Though smaller class sizes are sometimes mandated for the lower grades, it is still potluck when it comes to most classrooms. Teachers' aides can help, but students are sometimes packed in, and it's hard to bond with a sea of faces. Fortunately, researchers at the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education, in collaboration with the National PTA, have developed a new educational tool to help teachers connect with students -- even in large classes. Students fill out the kid-friendly form, called My Learning Print, to give teachers an in-depth and intimate view of their strengths, learning styles, and outside interests and activities. In three easy-to-read pages, educators gain valuable insights and information about who children are not only as students but also as human beings with personal goals and foibles. For more information, or to receive a sample, contact

Readers' Survey Home > Most overrated buzzword or idea

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

>In regards to this article, there is misinformation. Many of the schools in America, have large class sizes of 30 or more students. I work in one of these districts, as well have spoken with teachers in many different areas. Teachers have been pleading with school districts to reduce class size. However, school boards always say there is not enough funding. Yet, the board members are paid outrageous salaries of $100,000 or more. We know that certain superintendents have chauffeurs and expenses lunches at the tax payers expense. We are well aware of the fact class size makes a difference. No one hears us, yet we are expected to "Leave no child behind. "

Smaller Classes Add Value to Learning -- and Teaching
> "Mr. Taylor says a few extra children has a major impact on learning. 'We had up to thirty-six in the past, and those extra few children make a big difference. Smaller classes are vastly better for the children and vastly better for the teachers.'" -- (
> Related Edutopia story: "Readers' Survey 200

Paula Stranahan's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have now worked in both worlds. I first worked for 4 years in a district with maximum class sizes of 36, even in AP. I am currently working where 26 is tops. I know my students receive more individual attention in this learning environment. It is better for students to have a voice and in smaller classes they do open up and are not left silent. As a teacher I am also able to monitor student progress better, as I too spend more time with each student.

Manoel Fortunato's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I have been teaching for about 10 years, even in professional education I have seen that the class size is the key point in education, I work in both side as a teacher and in market, those students who have studied in smaller classes have learned enough to develop their professional knowledge.

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