Does Class Size Affect Student Learning?

The debate on the effects and impact of class size on learning has been ongoing for years. Class sizes have also evolved, ranging from small to medium to large classes as education has evolved. A significant change in learning methods has also been seen to accommodate different types of persons. Let us discuss, Does Class Size Affect Student Learning?

Does Class Size Affect Student Learning?

In reality, class size matters. Class size readily affects student learning. Teachers and students have given their own opinions on these effects. With the diversity of individual interests, it has become an increasingly challenging task for teachers to meet the needs of each student and for the students to be adequately catered for. However, many teachers have stated clearly their preference for smaller class sizes.

We have carefully put together a detailed report on this below.

The Bridge Between Class Size And Learning

Classes are made up of students who gather to learn from a teacher. These classes are of varying sizes, including small, medium, and large classes. Much research has been carried out to ascertain the impact of class size on students’ learning.

 This has led to various disagreements; however, most agree that small class sizes have a more positive impact. This agreement is based on the benefits of outwitting the costs.

One of the famous significant researches carried out in 1980 was the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR). Students were randomly picked and placed in small or large classes ranging from 13 to 17 students per teacher and 22-to 25 students per teacher. The study suggested a significant advantage in learning for the smaller class.

Some Benefits of Small Class Sizes

1. More Room For Collaboration In The Classroom

Cliques are one of the hallmarks of large classrooms. Students tend to stick around and talk with those they are familiar with. 

This gradually pushes away forming meaningful and tangible relationships as some begin to feel like outsiders. However, small class sizes encourage deep bonds of support and cooperation. The outcome is a more relaxed and engaging approach to learning.

2. In-depth Explanation of Topics

Small class sizes afford the teacher room to explain topics yet to be understood by the students thoroughly. In addition, students can ask questions and effectively communicate interests due to the class size. This will now serve as a guide for the teacher.

3. More Personalised Instruction

To solve a particular problem, it is essential first to identify it. Small class sizes offer the teacher a more excellent opportunity to relate with the students and see them as individuals with peculiar challenges. On the other hand, it does not give much room for assumptions. 

This way, the teacher can recognize the student’s individual needs and cater to them with the proper understanding and specific instructions. It cuts away the mass instructions that do not address the personalized challenges and tailors the teacher’s efforts, effectively improving learning outcomes.

4. Establishing Stronger Teacher/Student Relationship

Relationships matter a lot in our daily interactions. It is the lifeline of humanity. The importance and value placed on relationships cannot be frivolously dismissed. For example, showing individual concern to a student might be all the student needs to effectively develop and participate in classroom instructions. A healthy teacher/student relationship can enable the teacher and student to perform at peak levels.

Disadvantage Of Small Class Size

1. Cost

This is a very major disadvantage of small class size. Moreover, small class sizes imply additional teachers and classrooms as well as more expenditure. 

This poses the risk of employing an ineffective teacher to cater to the extra classes.

2. Link Between Large Class Size and Learning

An increase in population is one factor that affects class sizes in a school. Some researchers have argued that class sizes are a better way of learning than small class sizes. Usually, due to an increase in class size, performances and engagement of students become an issue.

Disadvantages Of Large Class Size

1. Less intimate Teacher/Student Relationship.

The large Class Size offers little or no room for a personal touch and individual expression. As a result, students are lost in the crowd, growth is stifled, and cooperation is weakened. Moreover, it does not encourage interdependent relationships.

2. Classroom Management/Student Assessment

In small class sizes where teachers can spot problems, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to spot issues and receive proper student feedback. These problems, in turn, affect the attention of students due to increased distractions.

Advantage Of Large Class Size

1. Independence

Students in Large Class Sizes tend to learn to be independent. This is because the teacher has no room to supervise their work and academic performance individually.

2. Learning To Work in Groups

Group works are one of the hallmarks of Large Class Sizes. Students are usually placed in groups to enable the teacher to easily supervise their activities. In addition, this serves as a medium for the students to cooperate and rely on each other’s strengths to fulfill tasks.


Many teachers, parents, and students will prefer their optimum classroom size differently. They both have advantages and disadvantages. No one seems to be a perfect fit, but it is dependent on individual preference.

 It also depends on what works best for all the parties involved, the aim of having either a larger or a smaller number, age bracket, demography, and all pertinent pieces of information for the determined class size.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How Does Class Size Affect Student Behaviour?

There is a greater sense of affiliation in small class sizes, encouraging mutual respect and values, thus influencing the student positively.

  1. Does Class Size Affect Educational Outcomes?

Yes, it does. It affects the effectiveness of teaching. This is why it is vital to adjust teaching styles and methods according to the class size.

  1. Does Class Size Influence A Student’s Ability To Learn A Language?

Yes. This is possible. There is room for accountability and supervision for a closely-knit group with a small class size. Also, no one is lost in the midst or left out. Languages can be learned and unlearnt as a result of that communal friendliness.