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State Report Provides Number for Pre-K Class Size, Student-Teacher Ratio

State Report Provides Number for Pre-K Class Size, Student-Teacher Ratio

A new state report from the Texas Education Agency and the Department of Family and Protective Services has revealed some important information on what defines quality pre-K education. 

"The study ... recommended a limit of 22 children and a student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1 for pre-kindergarten classes,” said The Texas Tribune.

The recommendations have been made after four months of research based on both national trends and statewide classroom observations.

The good news: a majority of Texas pre-K classrooms are already in compliance with the suggestions.

"According to the study's analysis of 3,000 pre-K classrooms, Texas programs currently have an average class size of 17. Eighty-seven percent of them had class sizes of 22 or fewer students. While the report recommends a class size limit at 22, it goes on to say that a preponderance of evidence in the literature review suggests that classes not exceed 20 students, a standard that 72 percent of Texas pre-K classrooms meet.”

Still, the report found that even smaller classroom sizes received the highest quality domain ratings.

"Among observed classrooms scoring the highest on each quality rating domain, class size ranged from 13 (in classrooms rated highest on Instructional Support) to 18 (in classrooms rated highest on Emotional Support). That is, the highest quality scores were in those classrooms with average class sizes of 18 or fewer students,” the report said.

And although the report found highest quality instruction occurring in classrooms where the student-teacher ratio did not exceed 11:1, the report said that quality instruction also generally occurred in classes with ratios of less than 15:1.

"In classrooms with ratios of 15:1 and lower, several best practices were observed including more analysis and reasoning, creation, integration, connections to the real world, encouragement and affirmation, feedback loops, provision of information, scaffolding, advanced language use, open-ended questions, and repetition and extension,” the report said.

The report notes that different circumstances will require different guidelines.

"School districts and open-enrollment charter schools should also consider the needs of their student populations as some populations may need smaller maximums to be effective. For example, programs serving students with special needs or English language learners may decide smaller class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios are most appropriate for best practice in their community,” the report says.

Read more and download the full report here. 

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/8/2016

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