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The Empirical Case Against Large Class Size: Adverse Effects on the Teaching, Learning, and Retention of First-Year Students

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Budgetary constraints are creating a current climate of cost containment, within which increasing class size may be seen as a quick and convenient cost-cutting strategy. Empirical evidence suggests that there are eight deleterious outcomes associated with increasingly larger class size. This article synthesizes research relating to these eight consequences of large class size and analyzes its implications for the success of undergraduate students in general, and first-year college students in particular. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the reviewed research for (a) the effective education of today's undergraduates, (b) identification of optimal class size, (c) administrative decision-making, and (d) institutional mission, priorities, and values.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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