Does Class Size Matter?

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach | National Education Policy Center (Colorado: National Education Policy Center, 2014)

Similar to research by Charles Achilles and William Mathis, this report provides an overview of the main findings of the research on class sizes. Schanzenbach notes that class size is particularly important from a policy perspective because it is an area where education policy can have a direct, measurable outcome and that, “all else being equal, increasing class sizes will harm student outcomes.” The research on class size shows that the harm is both short-term and long-term and that money saved by increasing class sizes now will create substantial social and educational costs in the future.

As other researchers have found, Schanzenbach notes that, “the payoff from class-size reduction is greater for low-income and minority children, while any increases in class size will likely be most harmful to these populations.”