Governments spend a lot of time and effort in trying to reduce the gap in educational achievement between high and low achievers. New research from the U.S. suggests that concentrating these efforts on reducing class sizes in the very first years of school could be the most effective way of doing this. Researchers from Michigan State University and Northwestern University in Illinois used data from a study about class sizes and their effect on more than 11,000 children. They found that children who had been in small classes (13 to 17 children) from nursery through to year 3 had substantially higher test scores in Years 4 to 8 than those who had been in larger classes. Students at all levels benefited but low achievers did particularly well, especially in maths and science. The effects of the smaller class sizes were strongest when children were in consistently small classes between kindergarten and Year 3.
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