Researcher perspectives on class size reduction.

Main Article Content

Abstract

This article applies to class size research Grant and Graue’s (1999) position that reviews of research represent conversations in the academic community. By extending our understanding of the class size reduction conversation beyond published literature to the perspectives of researchers who have studied the topic, we create a review that includes political histories of, contextual details about, and assumptions undergirding the conversation. We find divergent (and sometimes competing) perspectives on identifying beneficiaries of class size reduction (or CSR) and the correct context in which to view CSR research. By contrasting the logic and assumptions embedded in pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), class size (CS), and class size reduction studies, we conclude that sometimes research conflates these constructs and their associated theories of action, and such distortion poorly serves the needs of policymakers and stakeholders in education. We recommend that future inquiry focus on mechanisms of change, particularly instruction—both in terms of instructional strategies that capitalize on the resource of a smaller group and the types of support needed for teacher and administrator professional development.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Graue, E., & Rauscher, E. (2009). Researcher perspectives on class size reduction. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 17, 9. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v17n9.2009
Section
Articles
Author Biographies

Elizabeth Graue, Wisconsin Center for Education Research - University of Wisconsin Madison

Elizabeth Graue is a Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin Madison and a researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Her research interests focus on policy and practice in early elementary grades and she has spent the last five years on a project that evaluates Wisconsin’s Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE).

Erica Rauscher, Wisconsin Center for Education Research - University of Wisconsin Madison

Erica K. Rauscher is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been working as a research assistant on the SAGE evaluation project since 2005.