Saturday, November 2, 2019

Ask the Narrator: Class size

In the spirit of all of those movies with a Narrator voice-over ...

It's the Inaugural Episode of ...

Ask The Narrator

What is the optimal classroom size for creating the best quality learning environment?

I like my math classes between 10 and 18.

Fewer than 10 leads to too much of a tutoring situation. The student has to be “on” at all times, and misses out on being able to sit back and consider while someone else asks that same “dumb” question.

More than 18 allows students to hide and you can’t “check in” with them enough in a class period and they don’t learn as much or as well.

More than 24 kids in a class means that the kids on the edges are essentially taking a live-action but on-line class. They don’t ask questions, they don’t work very hard, they skate through and maybe learn something - or not; it’s as if you weren’t even there.


  1. Ideal, but not real in public education. Instead of listening to you, the expert, the powers that be decide with the budget.

  2. I teach at community college. (Do you teach high school?) For me, the best class size is in the low twenties. But I have drops and absences that you might not have to consider.

    Deborah Meier, author of The Power of Their Ideas, had a class maximum size of 15 for her (public school) elementary school.

    1. Rural high school. What I've found mirrors your point: the older and the more mature the group, the larger the group can be and still be effective.