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Distributed for UCL Press

Rethinking Class Size

The Complex Story of Impact on Teaching and Learning

Distributed for UCL Press

Rethinking Class Size

The Complex Story of Impact on Teaching and Learning

The debate over whether class size matters for teaching and learning is one of the most enduring—and aggressive—in education research. Teachers often insist that small classes benefit their work, but many experts argue that evidence from research shows class size has little impact on pupil outcomes, and therefore does not matter. That dominant view has informed international policymaking. In Rethinking Class Size, the lead researchers on the world’s biggest study into class size effects present a counterargument. Through detailed analysis of the complex relations involved in the classroom they reveal the mechanisms that support teachers’ experience, and they conclude that class size matters very much indeed.
Drawing on twenty years of systematic classroom observations, surveys of practitioners, detailed case studies, and extensive reviews of research, Peter Blatchford and Anthony Russell contend that common ways of researching the impact of class size are limited and sometimes misguided. While class size may have no direct effect on pupil outcomes, it can have a significant impact on interconnections within classroom processes. In describing these connections, the book opens up the everyday world of the classroom and shows that the influence of class size is felt everywhere.

340 pages | 8 halftones | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Free digital open access editions are available to download from UCL Press.

Education: Comparative Education, Curriculum and Methodology, Education--Economics, Law, Politics

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"A key ‘go to’ framework."

Educational Review

Table of Contents

List of tables,
figures and boxes



1  Introduction

2  Understanding class size effects and our research

3  Class size and pupil outcomes

4  Class size and classroom processes: Teaching

5  Class size and classroom processes: Grouping
practices and classroom management

6  Class size and classroom processes: Peer

7  Class size and classroom
processes: The curriculum and tasks

8  Class size and classroom processes:
Administrative aspects of teaching

9  Class size and differences between pupils, particularly
those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

10 Bringing it all
together: toward a social pedagogy of classroom learning

11  Conclusions


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