Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Classes

on Monday, June 2, 2014

By Jonathan Tannous, a Junior at AISB. May 26, 2014.

The American International School of Bamako is a “small, close knit community.” Small class sizes, according to international studies and local interviews, lead to the students’ achievement and success in their academic careers. However, the class sizes are still limiting in some areas.

According to the Great Schools institution, researchers have found that “gains in achievement generally occur when class size is reduced to less than 20 students.” They also state that high school students in smaller schools are “less likely to drop out or be expelled, [have] better attendance, [are] more likely to be involved in extracurricular activities, and [are] more likely to pursue higher education.”

Here at the American International School of Bamako, where the average class has eight and a half students, the previously stated advantages apply. Currently, in eleventh grade, seven out of nine students are planning to pursue higher education; the other two are still undecided. Additionally, all seniors have been already accepted to multiple colleges.

According to Ms. Jacoby, the principal, having fewer students per class has advantages and disadvantages. While smaller class sizes allow “teachers to give their students more attention,” having few students also creates economic issues in the school. In order to have good teachers, “you have to pay them well.”

Ms. Abby Wilson, the school’s Social Studies teacher, has taught in classes with more than 35 students. In her opinion, classes with fewer students, makes students less likely to “step on or kill each other.” However, she thinks that the class sizes at AISB are a little too small. Having a couple more students in each class would make more class activities possible and would lead to “more opinions, [creating more interesting class discussions.]” According to Ms. Wilson, “a class of 18 to 20 people would be excellent.”

Additionally, the students at AISB would also like to have more students in their classes. Many think that having few students limits social activity at school, making it boring. According to Tenning Coulibaly, a senior at AISB, “having more students in class is more fun.”

“How important is class size?” GreatSchools. GreatSchools Inc, 1999. Web. 23 May 2014. 

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