A new group of education entrepreneurs are thinking small about class size.
According to government data, there are approximately 27 students in the average public school classroom. For some entrepreneurs who champion micro schools, that number is about right for the entire school.
Micro schools are the updated 21st century version of the old one room schoolhouse. The idea is that new micro schools can use technology to allow a truly personalized learning experience.
There is a large body of research that recognizes the benefits of small class and effect on student performance. There is a distinct benefit for minority and low income students.
According to the National Education Policy Center, small class sizes are associated with lower juvenile and teen pregnancy rates, along with higher rates of high school graduation and college entry. The American Journal of Public Health even says that there is a correlation between small classes and longer lives.
According to a recent RAND Corporation study, personalized learning was achieved at several dozen public charter and district schools through various teaching methods. Story time at one school had a variety of forms, as some students read the book while listening to headphones, and other read it aloud into a microphone. At another school, a student utilized his talent with music to invent an imaginary country and compose its national anthem. The study lasted two years, during which time the schools surpassed national averages on standardized math and reading tests while utilizing personalized learning techniques.
In micro schools, students are not limited to a fixed curriculum, but curriculum is customized to each child’s unique learning style and strengths.