In other words, there is no empirical evidence to prove this case.
On the other hand, data availed from the National Assessment of Educational Progress proves that evidence is to the contrary. To illustrate, it was found that there was no significant improvement in the knowledge of students in reading, mathematics and science though the class size fell by 27% between 1969 and 1997 (cited in The influence of class size on academic achievement). In addition, there was a decline in certain subject areas like science. However, it is not possible to totally believe these results. This is so because in small classes, dropout rate will be much lower as compared to big classes (ibid). In fact, dropout often results in higher class-average test scores as the dropouts are often the low-scoring pupils. When small classes are formed, teachers and school authorities take care to avoid student dropout. Thus, the low-scoring ones take test along with other students and result in reduced class-average test scores.
However, though rational, this claim is limited by the fact that there is no empirical evidence to prove the case. In fact, it becomes difficult to gather accurate data in this connection because the academic performance of students is influenced by a large number of factors other than class size. Some such factors are family background, language and financial status. In order to make an effective analysis of the impact of class size on academic performance, all other factors need to be kept static.
The only study that tried to do so was the STAR study (Ehrenberg, R.G. et al 2001). The study took efforts to keep other factors like the quality of teaching static throughout the study. Then, it was found that there was an improvement of 0.2 standard deviation or more (ibid). Other studies like the California study and the SAGE study too provided similar results. While the California study only showed a ...Show more