Class Size or Quality TeachersBy esljoblinks I Africa, Australia / Oceania, East Asia, Europe, Middle East, North America, South America, Teaching - Other I 0 comment
It’s been found that the countries that are the strongest performers in PISA test results are not the wealthiest, nor do they allocate more money to education than other countries in their league . So, national wealth is not an indicator of student performance. What about Class Size ?
Smaller class size is often assumed to be better as a student will have more attention time per teacher and hence shall lead to better student performance.In the past, a lot of debate and discussion has taken place on reducing the class size. And small class size seem to have emerged as one of the parameter of quality schooling. (Though, for popular MOOCs, we see an ever increasing class size)
It’s logical reasoning but not necessarily true. Countries like Korea and Japan with high class sizes among OECD countries have much better PISA test results than Luxembourg and Austria.
Andreas Schleicher in his TED Talk unravels this puzzle . He takes case of Korea and Luxembourg , both countries spending similar spending per student relative to a country’s wealth .
He says,” One way you can spend money is by paying teachers well, and you can see Korea investing a lot in attracting the best people into the teaching profession. And Korea also invests into long school days, which drives up costs further. Last but not least, Koreans want their teachers not only to teach but also to develop. They invest in professional development and collaboration and many other things. All that costs money.How can Korea afford all of this? The answer is, students in Korea learn in large classes…….. But, you know, parents and teachers and policymakers in Luxembourg all like small classes. You know, it’s very pleasant to walk into a small class. So they have invested all their money into there, and the blue bar, class size, is driving costs up. But even Luxembourg can spend its money only once, and the price for this is that teachers are not paid particularly well. Students don’t have long hours of learning. And basically, teachers have little time to do anything else than teaching. So you can see two countries spent their money very differently, and actually how they spent their money matters a lot more than how much they invest in education.”
Of course that doesn’t mean, that no regard shall be paid to class size swelling up to 50-60 or even more students in many schools in India. However, at the country level, a PISA report finds that the size of the class is unrelated to the school system’s overall performance; in other words, high-performing countries tend to prioritize investment in teachers over smaller classes.