class size

class size

Does Class Size Matter in Determining Graduation Rates?

empty class room with desksDoes the size of a high school determine how successful its students will be? When the measure of success is the percent of students who graduate, the answer might just be yes….or it could be no.

MDRC, a research group in New York, studied students in 2010 who attended smaller high schools in New York City and found that these students were more likely to graduate than students who attended larger high schools. There are currently more than 100 smaller schools in NYC and most of these are less than a decade old.

In the past, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave billions of dollars to these schools, but the foundation has since stopped funding due to “disappointing” results.

Perhaps small schools are not all they are cracked up to be. These smaller schools can have a negative effect on larger schools in their area. For example, if a larger school which can enroll 1,000 students is shut down so that a smaller school which can enroll only 500 students can be built, where are the remaining 500 students supposed to go to school? Many of these students are shuffled off into another large school, where they might struggle to adapt, which could cause their grades to suffer.

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State of the Art High School Will Sit Empty

A brand new beautiful, state of the art, high school cost the state of California $105 million to build for an ever growing student population. Today, that much needed facility sits in Riverside with a fence around the perimeter. The building is empty but the problem is not a lack of students- they are eager to get in. Money, or the lack of it, is at the forefront of an educational debate, again.

A nearby high school houses nearly 3,400 students; 100 percent more people than the building was designed to accommodate. The class sizes are nearing the 40s and all parties involved realize this is not ideal. Teachers, students and district officials were all excited for their new high school but budget cuts will leave it empty for at least one year.

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German Universities Have Higher Enrollment Rates Than Ever Before

Professor Merle Hummrich teaches a very popular class at Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. When Hummrich first started teaching the class, she limited its enrollment to only 50 students. However, as the class has grown in popularity and as enrollment numbers have also increased, so has the number of students who are trying to get into the class each semester. This semester, 400 students showed up on the first day, and because there were not enough seats in the classroom, many ended up sitting on the floor or standing through the lecture.

Another class that has been experiencing a dramatic inflation in the number of students who are trying to enroll is Professor Benjamin Ortmeyer’s class about education during the Nazi era. Ortmeyer’s classroom was designed to hold only 500 people, but 720 students are currently enrolled in his class and about 600 show up every week.

This type of over-enrollment is becoming quite common at many universities in Germany. More German students are going to college in order to reap the life benefits that a higher education offers. Other factors include the abolition of mandatory military service and a reduction in the length of the standard high school curriculum.

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