Saturday, September 23, 2023

Union leaders want smaller classes, yet the evidence does not support their claims

During the ongoing rotating teacher strikes in Ontario, which could ramp up next week to two days a week, union leaders have pointed to classroom size as a key bone of contention and have repeatedly warned that proposed increases to the number of students per teacher will hurt the quality of education in the province.

Ontarians should treat these claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. Recent research from Derek Allison, professor emeritus of education at the University of Western Ontario, examines the correlation between class size and student performance across Canada.

Using data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the gold standard for international student testing, the study compared student test scores in provinces with larger high school class sizes to provinces with smaller classes.

The result? The study found no support for the claim that smaller Canadian classes necessarily mean improved student outcomes. In fact, during the period analyzed, Ontario had the smallest class sizes in Canada—but lower average scores in reading, science and math than students in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec.

Read more at Fraser Institute

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