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The main purpose of this study was to examine the differences between the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) and the actual and average class size (CS) at the elementary level in public schools in a single state (Michigan) and to clarify the ramifications for educational leaders. Another purpose of the study was to clarify the referents for the concepts of CS and PTR. The study has seven components: (1) an analysis of existing research and literature; (2) a national pilot study (1998) and followup (2001); (3) the Michigan study (1999); (4) a structured survey (1999) and followup (2002) in an inner-city school district; (5) a multilevel review of CS and PTR at international, national, state, and local levels; (6) a feasibility study to reduce CS in one school district; and (7) an on-site visitation to assess CS and PTR difference in one district (Burke County Schools, North Carolina) and to review Burke Countys CS reduction effort. Study results show that at the elementary level there was a difference of about n=9 between a building's average CS and its PTR in Michigan schools. There was a difference of about n=10 at the elementary level in national studies, and a difference of about n=11 in the inner-city studies. In Burke County, a relatively poor county with average K-4 class sizes of 1:14, the difference was about n=5. These data and results of the feasibility study suggest that staffs in many schools could reduce CS at little or no added cost by reexamining the allocation of human and financial resources. Data suggest that at the primary level, students who receive small class treatments (1 teacher to 15 to 18 students) obtain cognitive and affective benefits, and possibly, health related benefits. Data suggest that teachers derive benefits as well. (Contains 20 references.) (Author/SLD)

Descriptors: Class Size, Elementary Secondary Education, Public Schools, Resource Allocation, Teacher Student Ratio

Autor: Sharp, Mark A.


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