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General Research Key Publications


Key references to research on effects of class size differences (March 2015)


 (* marks the key items)


*Achilles, C.A. (1999) Let’s Put Kids First, Finally: Getting Class Size Right. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press


*Anderson, (2000). Why should reduced class size lead to increased student achievement? In M. C. Wang & J. D. Finn (Eds.) How small classes help teachers do their best (pp. 3-24). Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Center for Research in Human Development and Education.


Betts, J.R. & Shkolnik, J.L. (1999). The behavioral effects of variations in class size: The case of math teachers. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(2), 193-213.


Biddle, B.J., and Berliner, D.C. (no date) What research says about small classes and their effects. Part of series In Pursuit of Better Schools: What research says. Downloadable from or


*Blatchford, P. (2003) The Class Size Debate: Is Small Better? Maidenhead: Open University Press 182pp


*Blatchford, P. (2011) Three generations of research on class size effects. Chapter to appear in: The American Psychological Association (APA) Educational Psychology Handbook. Editors-in-Chief  Karen R. Harris, Steven Graham and Timothy Urdan.


Blatchford, P., Chan, P., Galton, M, Lai, K.C., and Lee, J.K. (in press 2015) (Eds.) East and West Approaches to Class Size. Routledge


Blatchford, P. (2012) Class size: is small better? In Adey, P and Dillon, J. (Eds) Bad Education: Debunking Myths in Education. Open University Press: Maidenhead, UK (ISBN 13: 9780335246014 (pb); eISBN: 9780335246021)


Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., and Brown, P. (2005) Teachers’ and pupils’ behaviour in large and small classes: a systematic observation study of pupils aged 10/11 years. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97,3, 454-467


Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., and Brown, P. (2011) Examining the effect of class size on classroom engagement and teacher-pupil interaction: differences in relation to prior pupil attainment and primary vs. secondary schools, Learning and Instruction, 21, 715-730.


*Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Goldstein, H., and Martin. C. (2003) Are class size differences related to pupils’ educational progress and classroom processes?  Findings from the Institute of Education Class Size Study of children aged 5-7 Years. British Educational Research Journal, 29, 5, 709-730. Special Issue ‘In Praise of Educational Research’, Guest Editors: S. Gorrard, C. Taylor and K. Roberts


Blatchford, P., Goldstein, H., & Mortimore, P. (1998). Research on class size effects: A critique of methods and a way forward. International Journal of Educational Research, 29, 691-710.


Blatchford, P. and Lai, K.C. (2010) Class size: arguments and evidence. In Barry McGraw, Eva Baker and Penelope P. Peterson (Eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education. 3rd Edition. Elsevier


Blatchford, P. and Lai, K.C. (2010) Class size: arguments and evidence. In Barry McGraw, Eva Baker and Penelope P Peterson (Eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education. 3rd Edition. Elsevier


*Blatchford, P., Moriarty, V., Edmonds, S., & Martin, C. (2002). Relationships between class size and teaching: a multi-method analysis of English infant schools. American Educational Research Journal.  Spring 2002 Vol. 39, No. 1, pp 101-132.


Blatchford, P. and Mortimore, P. (1994) The issue of class size in schools: what can we learn from research? Oxford Review of Education, 20,4,411-428


Blatchford, P., Russell, A., Bassett, P., Brown, P., and Martin, C. (2007)  The effect of class size on the teaching of pupils aged 7-11 years. School Effectiveness and Improvement, 18, 2, June, 147-172


Blatchford, P., Russell, A., and Brown, P. (in press) Teaching in large and small classes. In  L.J. Saha and A.G. Dworkin (Eds) The New International Handbook of Teachers and Teaching. Springer


Bourke, S. (1986) How smaller is better: some relationships between class size, teaching practices, and student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 23,4,558-571


Brühwiler, C., & Blatchford, P. (2010). Effects of class size and adaptive teaching competency on classroom processes and academic outcome. Learning and Instruction.


Cahen, L.S., Filby, N., McCutcheon, G., & Kyle, D.W. (1983). Class size and instruction. New York: Longman.


*Cooper, H. M. (1989). Does reducing student-to-teacher ratios affect achievement? Educational Psychologist, 24 (1), 79–98.


Day, C., Toley, H., Hadfield, M., Parkin, E. and Watling, G.R. (1996) Class size research and the quality of education: A critical survey of the literature related to class size and the quality of teaching and learning. Haywards Heath, West Sussex: National Association of Head Teachers


Department for Children, Schools and Families(DCSF) (2010). Class size and education in England: evidence report. Economics, Evaluation and Appraisal Team, Schools Analysis and Research Division.


 *Ehrenberg, R.G., Brewer, D.J., Gamoran, A., and Willms, J.D. (2001) Class size and student achievement. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2,1, May


Ehrenberg, R. G., Brewer, D.J., Gamoran, A. & Willms, J.D. (2001). “Does Class Size Matter?” Scientific American, 285 (November), 32-40.


Evertson, C.M., & Randolph, C.H. (1989). Teaching practices and class size: A new look at an old issue. Peabody Journal of Education, 67(1), 85-105.


Finn, J. D., & Achilles, C. M. (1999). Tennessee’s class size study: Findings, implications, misconceptions.  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21 (2), 97–109.


Finn, J.D. Gerber, S.B., & Boyd-Zaharias, J. ( 2005). Small classes in the early grades, academic achievement, and graduating from High School, Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2),214-223.


*Finn, J.D., Pannozzo, G.M., and Achilles, C.M. (2003) The ‘why’s’ of class size: student behaviour in small classes. Review of Educational Research, 73,3,321-368


Finn, J.D., and Wang, M.C. (2002). Taking Small Classes One Step Further. Information Age Publishing, Greenwich, Connecticut and Laboratory for Student Success


Galton, M. (1998) Class size: a critical comment on the research. International Journal of Educational Research, 29, 809-818


Galton, M. and Pell, T. (2010). Study on Class Teaching in Primary Schools in Hong Kong: Final Report, University of Cambridge.


Goldstein, H. and Blatchford, P. (1998) Class size and educational achievement: a review of methodology with particular reference to study design. British Educational Research Journal, 24, 3, 255-268


Glass, G., Cahen, L., Smith, M.L. & Filby, N. (1982). School Class Size. Beverley Hills, C.A.: Sage.


Gratton Institute (2012) Catching Up: Learning from the best school systems in East Asia Summary Report (author Ben Johnson) Gratton Institute.


Graue, E., Rauscher, E., and Sherfinski, M. (2008) Using Multiple Data Sources to Understand the Synergy of Class Size Reduction & Classroom Practice in Wisconsin, Paper to American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York


Grissmer, D. (1999).  Class size effects: Assessing the evidence, its policy implications, and future research agenda.   Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21 (2), 231–248.


Hanushek, E.A. (1999). Some findings from an independent investigation of the Tennessee STAR experiment and from other investigations of class size effects.  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21 (2), 143-163.


*Hattie, J. (2005) The paradox of reducing class size and improving learning outcomes. International Journal of Educational Research, 43, 387-425


Hattie, J. (2009)  Visible Learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge


Konstantopoulos, S. (2008). Do small classes reduce the achievement gap between low and high achievers? Evidence from Project STAR. The Elementary School Journal, 108 (4), 275-291.


Konstantopoulos, S., & Chung, V. (2009) What are the long term effects of small classes on the achievement gap? Evidence from the lasting benefits study. American Journal of Education, 116(1), 125-155.


McKinsey & Company (2007), McKinsey & Company (2007) How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top (authors Michael Barber and  Mona Mourshed), McKinsey & Company


Molnar, A., Smith, P., Zahorik, J., Palmer, A., Halbach, A., & Ehrle, K. (1999). Evaluating the SAGE program: A pilot program in targeted pupil-teacher reduction in Wisconsin.  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21 (2), 165–177.


NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (in press). Does class size in first grade relate to children’s academic and social performance or observed classroom processes. Developmental Psychology.


Pedder, D. ( 2006). Are small classes better: Understanding relationships between class, classroom processes and pupils’ learning, Oxford Review of Education, 32 (2), 213-234.


Rice, J.K. (1999). The impact of class size on instructional strategies and the use of time in High School mathematics and science courses. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(2), 215-229.


Robinson, G.E. & Wittebols, J.H. (1986). Class Size Research: A related cluster analysis for decision making. Arlington: V.A., Educational Research Service.


Shapson, S. M., Wright, E. N., Eason, G., & Fitzgerald, J. (1980). An experimental study of the effects of class size.  American Educational Research Journal, 17,  144–152.


Slavin, R. E.  (1989). Class size and student achievement: small effects of small classes.  Educational Psychologist, 24 (1),  99-110.


Slavin, R.  E. (1990b) Class size and student achievement: is smaller better? Contemporary Education, 62, 6-12


Smith, A.B., McMillan, B.W., Kennedy, S. & Ratcliffe, B. (1989). The effect of improving pre-school teacher/child ratios: an ‘experiment in nature’. Early Child Development and Care, 41, 123-38.


Wang, M.C., and Fin, J.D. (2000) How Small Classes Help Teachers Do Their Best. Temple University Center for Research in Human Development


Whitehurst, G. R., & Chingos, M.M. (2011) Class size: what research says and what it means for state policy, Brookings Institution  


Wilson, V. (2006) Does small really make a difference? An update. A review of the literature on the effects of class size on teaching practice and pupils’ behaviour and attainment, Scottish Council for Research in Education (SCRE) Centre: University of Glasgow


Word, E.R., Johnston, J., Bain, H.P., & Fulton, B.D. (1990). The State of Tennessee’s Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) Project: Technical Report 1985-90.  Nashville, Tennessee State University.


Other than papers cited above, all other papers in Special Issue on class size research  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 1999, 21(2), 193–213.


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