How in the world can we affect the N-effect?

While perusing the web, I ran across this article which claims studies prove that taking the SAT in a crowded room is a detriment to student scores and performance.

They call this the"the N-effect." Basically, as the article says, the larger the "N"—the number of participants involved in a task—the worse the outcome for the individuals who are participating.

Hmm... really?

So if a 4 hour stretch of time in a crowded room is detrimental to test scores, WHAT ABOUT LEARNING IN CROWDED CLASSROOMS OVER THE COURSE OF AN ENTIRE YEAR?!

Kindergarten with 29 kids per class.
Middle schools with 38 kids per class.
High schools with 41 per class.

Does anyone care to do a study on this? Matter of fact, I am sure there are scores of them. But then again, isn't this simply self-evident stuff? I mean teaching at 39 to 1 versus teaching at 22 to 1 is an immense difference... and one sure way to improve the quality of the educator is to reduce the amount of students on their roster.

A fair teacher is a better teacher with they are not forced to teach in impacted classrooms.
A good teacher is a better teacher with they are not forced to teach in impacted classrooms.
A great teacher is a better teacher with they are not forced to teach in impacted classrooms.

A bad teacher -- well, even they are able to be less bad if they have less kids. Or at least they negatively affect less kids when they have less kids so there's even some benefit in that, right?

Just remember, every time you hear the term "budget cuts" one thing that surely follows is larger class sizes... and that's not good for anybody.

So how in the world can we affect the N-effect in our classrooms?

Views: 24

Comment by Mariam Haleem on December 23, 2009 at 9:27am
Its nice reading about your thoughts ... its some thing that I have also wondered about ... However, I have been slightly lucky in that I have taught in classrooms with approximately 9, 18 and 25 students. And I had the best time in the classroom that had 18 students!

What I am trying to say is that, I agree the fewer the students the better teachers are able to cater to the needs of their students. Yet we need a certain number of students to bring sufficient ideas in the classroom.

Very few students also means lonelier individuals because it might be difficult for some to find 'like minds'. I am a huge advocate of helping students learn to like each other for their merits ... and yet I feel that there should be a sufficient number of personalities in the calssroom to make it a trully meaningful experience.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this ...
Comment by Alan Sitomer on December 23, 2009 at 9:38am
It's true that too few can be a problem... but not like having too many.
Comment by Mariam Haleem on December 28, 2009 at 1:54am
Thats exactly, how I feel too :)


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