Effects of small class size (1:15) on the teaching/learning process in grade two

Ben Douglas Dennis, Tennessee State University


The primary purpose of this study was to research the effects of class size of 1:15 on second grade students in (a) reading achievement, (b) math achievement, (c) attendance, (d) student self-concept, and (e) student behavior. A secondary purpose was to study the effect of economic status (SES) on achievement. Another secondary purpose was to determine if the sex of the students in a class size of 1:15 affected achievement. A final purpose was to compare teacher attitudes in the 1:15 class size with teacher attitudes in a traditional 1:25 setting. The study compared eighty-five experimental group students in six classes to eighty-eight control group students in three and one-half classes and eighty-five students in a blind control group drawn from thirty-five Metro Nashville schools. The blind control group was matched according to the following: (a) sex, (b) race, (c) economic status, (d) birthdate within forty-five days, and (e) California Achievement Tests total prereading (CAT 10) and reading (CAT 11) raw scores within four points. The experimental group was also compared to all Metropolitan Nashville second grade students. Some variables could not be controlled. These include: (a) test administration, (b) teaching for new test, (c) student and teacher test anxiety, and (d) first year of study producing more positive results than the second year. The results showed no significant differences in reading and math achievement of the groups. The free lunch students did show more progress in the small class setting. While the blind control free lunch students were significantly lower in achievement than the non free lunch students in the same group, the experimental free lunch students maintained parity with the experimental non free lunch students. Achievement by sex was not judged to be significant. There were no differences in the attendance rates of any of the groups. Self-concept scores indicated no differences between the experimental and control groups, although the experimental group scores did decrease less than the control group scores. The experimental group demonstrated significantly better behavior than all of the other groups. Teachers indicated strong support for the concept of small class size. This study concludes that the 1:15 concept is fundamental to sound education and should be further researched.

Subject Area

School administration|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Ben Douglas Dennis, "Effects of small class size (1:15) on the teaching/learning process in grade two" (1986). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI8802623.