Problems of Overcrowded Classrooms at Elementary Level

Table of Content

It is difficult for educators to provide individual assistance or even a portion of the class due to teaching in overcrowded classrooms with limited teachers (Bassett, Blatchford, Goldstein, & Martin, 2003). As a result, students in modern classrooms are not receiving the necessary attention needed for their educational progress and advancement. According to research, class size is one of the factors that affect student learning in American K-12 education (Borland, Howsen, & Trawick, 2005). However, if class sizes continue to increase rapidly, it becomes more challenging to positively influence students’ learning experiences.

This question is the reason why it has been said that students in smaller class sizes 13-17 have a greater chance of academic achievement. (Finn & Achilles, 2003).

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Statement of the Problem With overcrowding becoming very common in today’s classrooms, students are not receiving the necessary attention in order to succeed in their academics. In PS X, two Pre-Kindergarten classes have different class sizes as well as different student to teacher ratio. The two classes have the same curriculum and same materials in order for the teacher(s) to conduct the exact same lessons.

Although class sizes are increasing, it is crucial to assess the literature and ascertain if students are getting enough attention from teachers and acquiring the necessary knowledge for their educational advancement. In comparison to the larger class ratio of 2:21, students in smaller classes benefit from a teacher-student ratio of 1:7. Consequently, when both student groups undergo math and language arts assessments, it is conceivable that those in the smaller class have received greater individual attention due to their reduced class size.

Extensive research has been conducted on the topic of increasing class size to determine its effects on smaller class sizes. The reduction of class size is currently a policy option that is highly interesting in terms of enhancing academic achievement (Hedges, Konstantopoulos, & Nye, 2001). Researchers, teachers’ unions, policymakers, and politicians are engaged in a widespread debate regarding the impact of class-size reduction (CSR) on student achievement (Gamoran & Milesi, 2006). Tennessee’s Project STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio), which is the largest and most significant experiment conducted on class size (Krueger, 2003), has been hailed by Frederick Mosteller from Harvard University as one of the most crucial educational investigations ever undertaken. Mosteller believes that this project exemplifies the type and scale of research needed to improve schools (Mosteller, 1995). Furthermore, STAR research is considered effective and one of the few large-scale randomized experiments in education.

According to Mosteller, Light, and Sachs (1996), Project STAR is highly credible and considered to be one of the most significant education experiments in the history of the United States. For my action research project, I am administering math and language arts exams to Pre-kindergarten students. The research conducted by STAR has found that reducing class size from 22 to 15 in the early primary grades has a significant impact on test scores. This reduction in class size has been found to increase both math and reading test scores by approximately 0.2 standard deviations (Krueger, 2003).

According to STAR results, students in small classes experienced an increase in their reading and mathematics achievement by 0.15-0.27 SD, in comparison to their peers in regular classes (Finn & Achilles, 1999). Additional research has shown that these findings indicate a (small) effect of class size on the fundamental literacy skills of reading and spelling (Ecalle, Magnan, & Gibert, 2006). By considering these statistics, along with my intervention and assessment of the students in PSX, we can gain a better understanding of why students in smaller classes tend to perform better academically.

According to studies, smaller class sizes have a positive impact on student academic achievement. Researchers like STAR have explained that smaller classes allow for more individual attention from teachers and enable them to develop stronger relationships with their students, accommodating diverse learning needs (Arias & Walker, 2004).

In addition, smaller classes experience fewer disruptions as there are fewer students causing distractions. This allows the teacher to better focus on the class as a whole and provide effective communication and support to struggling students. Conversely, larger classes require significantly more time for addressing everyone’s needs when there is only one teacher present (Batchford et al., 2001; Sohn, 2010).

In summary, smaller classes align with the objectives of the No Child Left Behind Act and are more appealing due to their positive effects on student achievement.

In today’s society, education plays a major role in a child’s life, helping them to succeed and feel proud of their accomplishments. Research shows that children who receive an education in smaller classes at a young age tend to benefit more in later grades (Chung & Konstantopoulos, 2009). When students have a strong foundation early on, they are better equipped to continue learning, making connections, and developing a lifelong love of learning.

According to Funkhouser (2009), smaller groups are more unified in their daily tasks and actions, making learning fun and interesting. Finn & Achillles (2003) state that in smaller classes, students are more engaged in learning activities, leading to increased participation, interest, and reduced disruptive behavior. Krueger & Hanushek (2000) support this idea, with Edward Lazear arguing that students attending smaller classes learn more due to fewer disruptions from other students.

According to Achilles, Finn, and Pannozoo (2003), smaller groups of students have fewer disruptions and a stronger sense of belonging. It is found that small classes are one of the most effective ways to improve student performance (Achilles, Finn, & Pannozoo, 2003). However, it should be noted that small classes are not a quick solution. Research indicates that for maximum impact, small classes should meet specific conditions. Firstly, early intervention is crucial, starting in kindergarten or first grade. Secondly, the ideal class size should range from 13 to 17 students.

Thirdly, in situations where resources are limited, it is suggested to focus on implementing strategies that target students at risk. Additionally, it is important to ensure a high level of intensity by providing small classes throughout the entire day. Moreover, it is recommended that small classes be maintained for a minimum of two years to achieve initial benefits and ideally three to four years for the most long-lasting advantages even after the small classes have ended (Achilles & Finn, 2003). However, while smaller class sizes are generally considered advantageous in various aspects, some research suggests that they may not always benefit students.

Smaller classes result in less kids, which can lead to reduced social interaction. Vygotsky, a theorist, has suggested that enhanced social interaction is closely linked to improved cognitive development (McLeod, 2007). Supporting Vygotsky’s theory, students in larger classes demonstrate better socializing skills compared to students in smaller classes who are believed to have limited interactive dynamics (Pedder, 2006). This suggests that decreased social interaction may result in decreased cognitive development.

According to Murdoch & Guy (2002), many believe that children need to have strong communication skills and the ability to assert themselves in any situation. They argue that larger class sizes may better prepare children for their future years of education and work. On the other hand, Pedder (2006) stated that studies suggesting smaller class sizes are not necessarily beneficial highlight the need for further research. Pedder calls for a better understanding of the strategies and knowledge that teachers can use to effectively promote high-quality learning opportunities for all students, regardless of class size variation.

Research has shown that incorporating teacher’s aides in the classroom does not have a positive impact on student achievement or behavior (Achilles & Finn, 2003). This solution has been used to cope with larger class sizes but it can create confusion for students if the co-teachers are not aligned with classroom management (Walter-Thomas,1997).

Some teachers view co-teachers or teacher aides as bothersome or a financial burden for their classroom. They prefer to run their classroom independently and may not appreciate the benefits of having an additional teacher. However, this mindset can negatively impact teaching methods and impede students’ understanding and learning abilities. In today’s world, it is crucial to acknowledge that children possess diverse learning styles and approaches to grasping information.

Teachers are tasked with the duty of familiarizing themselves with their students and comprehending their specific needs. This allows them to prepare suitable lessons and aid in the achievement of each student. Nonetheless, due to the sizeable number of students in a class, teachers frequently lack the opportunity to fulfill this role adequately. Consequently, smaller classes present students with an improved likelihood of obtaining the attention they need and deserve, particularly during their early education years when they embark on school life and acquire essential knowledge.

Statement of Hypothesis HR 1: Providing one unit of instruction in both math and language arts by a single teacher to seven Pre-Kindergarten students from PS X in Brooklyn, NY for a duration of six weeks, three times a week, for 45 minute sessions will result in an improvement of their overall knowledge in both math and language arts. This improvement will be measured by a math and language arts test.

HR2: The overall content knowledge in math and language arts of twenty-one Pre-Kindergarten students from PS X in Brooklyn, NY will decrease if two teachers teach one unit on math content and one unit on language arts content over a six-week period. The teaching sessions will occur three times a week for 45 minutes each. This decrease will be measured by a math and language arts test.

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Problems of Overcrowded Classrooms at Elementary Level. (2016, Oct 27). Retrieved from

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