NEW YORK (MainStreet) — When it comes to getting an education, smaller classes produce more successful students, says a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The report found that being assigned to a small class increases the probability of attending college by 2.7 percentage points, with effects more than twice as large among African-Americans. Smaller classes also increase the likelihood of earning a college diploma by 1.6 percentage points with students receiving degrees in high-earning fields involving science, technology, engineering, medicine, business and economics.
The findings were based off of an analysis of data from the Tennessee Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio Experiment, which was initiated during the 1986-1987 school year. Researchers looked up the current postsecondary attainment status of the approximately 11,500 students involved in the experiment.
The report points out that the original experiment proved smaller class size had a direct impact on test scores in primary and secondary schools, in addition to the aforementioned long-term impact it can have on a student’s level of educational attainment.
Researchers say their analysis also found decreasing class size was just as cost effective as Head Start and other financial aid programs public schools are currently using to increase college enrollment.
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