Does 5 More Students Really Matter?

In this time of budget cuts there has been an increase in class sizes in most secondary classrooms. To a person that is not in the classroom it may not seem like that big of a deal.

Let’s look at it from a numbers point of view:

25 x 6 classes

30 x 6 classes

Difference

2 daily/hw assignments per week 300 assignments a week 360 assignments + 60
20 problems per daily/hw assignment 600 problems a week 720 problems a week +120
3 test per 6 weeks 450 tests per 6 weeks 540 test per 6 weeks +90
40 questions per test 600 test questions per 6 weeks 720 test questions per 6 weeks +120
300 assignments per week times 36 weeks 10800 assignments in a school year
360 assignments per week times 36 12960 assignments in a school year +2160
600 problems per week time 36 weeks 21600 problems in a school year
720 problems per week times 36 weeks 25920 +4320
450 tests per 6 weeks times 6 2700 test in a school year
540 tests per 6 weeks time 6 3240 test in a school year +540
600 test questions per 6 weeks time 6 3600 test questions per school year
720 test questions per 6 weeks 4320 test questions per school year +720

On the surface it does not sound like much to add 5 students to a class but the hard numbers tell another story. It means an extra 60 assignments with an additional 120 more problems that need to be graded per week. It means 90 more test per 6 weeks and 120 test questions per 6 weeks. Over a school year it means an additional 2160 assignments with an additional 4320 problems to grade. It means over the year 540 more tests will be given to students with an additional 720 questions.

This is assuming only 6 instructional periods per day. When you add a seventh period, then the numbers go up even more. Every student that is added is more work and requires more time. The above numbers do not even reflect the extra time needed to grade special projects, essays, lab reports and math problems.

Using the daily/hw assignments as an example; if there are 300 assignments to grade per week and each takes 1 minute to grade, then that is 5 hours to grade those 300 papers. If that increase to 360 assignments, then the time increases to 6 hours. An extra hour a week grading papers times 36 weeks is 36 hours or an extra day and a half.

Throughout the history of education the focus is on “how many are in each class period”. Maybe it is time to consider a different approach. Limit the total number of students a teacher is allowed to carry on their rosters. Using the Elementary rule of 22 to 1 (they usually teach 5-6 subjects) or the equivalent of 132 students per day. In an effort to maintain consistency, let’s just round that number to140 as a hard cap to a teacher’s student load. This will allow teachers more time to spend with students, planning, professional development and just plain having a life outside the classroom.

When our State Legislature and our Governor tell you it is just a few more students in each class, then you can tell them, “NO, it’s not just a few more students per class”!!

David R. Taylor

25 year Teacher, Coach, and Principal

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2 Responses to Does 5 More Students Really Matter?

  1. Pingback: State debates requirements for teachers | Amarillo Globe-News | David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Texas Education

  2. Pingback: The Scarlet Letter…..Again | David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Texas Education

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