What is the ideal class size?

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Theloniouss
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I'd always thought that smaller classes were better because students get more individual attention but I recently read a comment that got me thinking - from Muttley79, I think - who said that smaller classes resulted in students working slower.

So what do you think, and why?
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Interea
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
I've always thought that smaller classes were better because students get more individual attention but I recently read a comment that got me thinking - from Muttley79, I think - who said that smaller classes resulted in students working slower.

So what do you think, and why?
At GCSE, I think about 20 is a good size for most things, although for languages 5ish is a better size - I had one language set of 20 and one of 5, and I am dramatically better at the language I had the smaller set for.

At A level, 10 seems a pretty good size, as it keeps you working through set work since there are enough people to feel like you're all working, but there are few enough people that everyone gets a chance to contribute and ask for help. My smallest set was 4 people and that worked really well, but on days where more than 1 person was ill we definitely worked a lot slower and classwork conversations were much more subdued.
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Mesopotamian.
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I think it depends on the task at hand and the learning setting. From my own experience:

If the assignment being done requires a teacher to constantly check the student’s work, then I’d prefer a smaller sized classroom (~10 students) as it’ll allow the teacher to get round to each student faster and provide more in-depth feedback (I don’t know when this might apply to a school setting, I think I’m basing this off my clinical placements).

If the task is just work sheets, making notes off the board/ textbooks, answering questions or group work which doesn’t require constant teacher attention, then a larger group of students (up to 30) would be acceptable (this is more based off of my school experiences).
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ReadingMum
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I think it depends on the subject and the students. For a subject which benefits from open class discussion then a very small class, especially if there is a very assertive/dominant student, might be a bad thing. My daughter moved sixth form to get smaller classes as that was her preference- science/maths. She felt that the teachers really got to know the students and tailored their teaching as a result- something that would have very difficult for a class of 25 vs single figures.
Horses for courses.
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Alienated.
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If we're talking realistically, average size of state secondary school class in my area is about 27-30.
Me personally, I'd prefer a class of 15.

For A levels, I'd say the same.
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laurawatt
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I think 10-15 for alevel is a good size - e.g. my further maths class is only 5 now and I think that’s too small to get a proper discussion going

Our gcse classes were 30-33 and they were just too big, especially with troublemakers disrupting everything
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
I've always thought that smaller classes were better because students get more individual attention but I recently read a comment that got me thinking - from Muttley79, I think - who said that smaller classes resulted in students working slower.

So what do you think, and why?
The research is mixed: https://www.tes.com/news/research-sm...better-results

Private schools often 'sell' the benefits but if the teacher just sits at the front [which I often observe] then class-size is irrelevant. It's the quality of feedback in class, on classwork/homework and outside the class that matter.

25 - 30 for GCSE, 15 to 20 for A level.

Small classes with no 'top' student are a nightmare to teach ...
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by laurawatt)
I think 10-15 for alevel is a good size - e.g. my further maths class is only 5 now and I think that’s too small to get a proper discussion going

Our gcse classes were 30-33 and they were just too big, especially with troublemakers disrupting everything
Interesting that you can't get discussions going in your FM class - my FM class was only 6 by year 2 and I don't think we ever really ran out of ideas.

That's definitely true :lol: (although I would probably have counted as one of the troublemakers back then)
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Muttley79)
The research is mixed: https://www.tes.com/news/research-sm...better-results

Private schools often 'sell' the benefits but if the teacher just sits at the front [which I often observe] then class-size is irrelevant. It's the quality of feedback in class, on classwork/homework and outside the class that matter.

25 - 30 for GCSE, 15 to 20 for A level.

Small classes with no 'top' student are a nightmare to teach ...
I was thinking it might depend on the quality of the students. I can imagine a FM class of only 4 or 5 students all on their way to Durham, Warwick, Oxbridge etc. might not suffer the same disadvantages as the same class all struggling for Cs.

That study is interesting, too
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ashtolga23
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I'm in quite an odd situation where I have a class size of 1 in two lessons haha. My other class right now is made of 19, but in secondary school it varied anywhere from around 6 to 20 I think.

At first reflection I'd say that smaller classes (and definitely one-on-ones) can turn into irrelevant conversations, but that's happened with my bigger classes too, only it's harder to get back on topic. I had 3 people in English lit before the others dropped it and that was quite nice, as there were different opinions to discuss but few enough so that we could all have our say. Smaller classes also don't seem to have as much disparity when it comes to people needing more time on certain topics. For instance my GCSE maths class was one of the biggest I had, and because of the range in ability we probably worked at a slower pace than preferable.

My one-on-ones are probably my favourite because I can develop a bond with the teacher and I'm lucky in the sense that it's essentially private tutoring, although it can get a little isolating. Obviously this isn't the most common circumstance though, so I'd just say that smaller classes in general are optimal.
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Compost
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I think it varies with age, subject and the ability of the class. The 25-30 quoted above is too many, in my opinion for GCSE modern languages, Music or Art. Similarly 20 would be too big for an A level class in the these subjects..
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Interea)
At GCSE, I think about 20 is a good size for most things, although for languages 5ish is a better size - I had one language set of 20 and one of 5, and I am dramatically better at the language I had the smaller set for.

At A level, 10 seems a pretty good size, as it keeps you working through set work since there are enough people to feel like you're all working, but there are few enough people that everyone gets a chance to contribute and ask for help. My smallest set was 4 people and that worked really well, but on days where more than 1 person was ill we definitely worked a lot slower and classwork conversations were much more subdued.
Languages are an interesting example. I imagine they're quite different from other subjects in the effect of class sizes, because the students' ability to figure things out for themselves is probably more limited than in a subject like Maths or Chemistry, and the teacher's input could be more necessary.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by ReadingMum)
I think it depends on the subject and the students. For a subject which benefits from open class discussion then a very small class, especially if there is a very assertive/dominant student, might be a bad thing. My daughter moved sixth form to get smaller classes as that was her preference- science/maths. She felt that the teachers really got to know the students and tailored their teaching as a result- something that would have very difficult for a class of 25 vs single figures.
Horses for courses.
Yeah, I felt that in my small class the teachers got to know us better. I think it had more of an effect than just their ability to tailor their teaching, though - I was always more concerned about disappointing those teachers than when I was in a class of 20+.
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laurawatt
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
Interesting that you can't get discussions going in your FM class - my FM class was only 6 by year 2 and I don't think we ever really ran out of ideas.

That's definitely true :lol: (although I would probably have counted as one of the troublemakers back then)
ah, there are only 2 of us in that class that speak (no joke) so it’s hard to have good discussions about the work or maths in general which is a bit annoying tbh :lol:
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deadroseex
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(Original post by laurawatt)
I think 10-15 for alevel is a good size - e.g. my further maths class is only 5 now and I think that’s too small to get a proper discussion going

Our gcse classes were 30-33 and they were just too big, especially with troublemakers disrupting everything
My FM class atm has 33....let's see where it ends.
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laurawatt
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(Original post by deadroseex)
My FM class atm has 33....let's see where it ends.
:headfire: our class of 5 is the only one in our year too, things like psychology/history are much more popular in my year group :yes:
For alevel?
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Reece1510
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I think it depends on the subject, I have an a level biology class of 20 which works just fine, but I have a maths class half the size and I think it would be too chaotic if there were more people.
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JustOneMoreThing
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I love how things are now at my college, it’s just under 10 for each class.
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ArtmisKco
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16-17
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vix.xvi
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