Value of small classes: striking and statistically significant

October 31, 2014

Seattle Times

Class sizes: Additional research shows the value of small classes

Posted by Letters Coordinator, Oct. 31, 2014
The article on Initiative 1351 ["Does class size matter? Research reveals surprises," Local News, Oct. 28], which would reduce class sizes, was well-done and we have local research to support the findings at the high-school level. In 2005-2006 I conducted an evaluation of an effort at Shorecrest High School that (without any funding) shifted staff to reduce the size of freshman and sophomore non-honors English classes from 30 to 20. The results were dramatic and we were able to document the changes and the reasons.

The direct writing assessment score changes for students were striking and statistically significant. Those scoring below standards dropped from 25.2 percent to 18.6 percent. Those scoring above standards rose from 11.6 percent to 20.4 percent. There was an 8.1 percent increase in percentage passing the WASL reading test and a 17.5 percent increase in the percentage passing the writing test.

Our research report documented that the teachers and the students felt very strongly about the positive impacts of reduced class sizes and experienced positive impacts in their educational experiences and in personalization, classroom community and increased student satisfaction. Academic scores and other objective data provided additional evidence that the intended outcomes of the I-1351 and of efforts to improve personalization and engagement in general can succeed.

Bill Leon, president of Geo Education & Research, Lake Forest Park

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I Support Smaller Class Sizes!

I endorse I-1351 to reduce class sizes and provide more individualized instruction for student success.