When researching schools you may have come across the term “student teacher ratio”. There’s a number of benefits to having a low student teacher ratio and I want to discuss what these are and why it matters so much.
What is Student Teacher Ratio?
The student teacher ratio is a measure of the schools total ratio of number of students to the number teachers. In essence the lower this ratio is, the smaller the classroom size is. So for a ratio of 20:1 means that for every 20 students there’s 1 teacher. Alternatively, this can be translated as average classroom size at the school being around 20 students. Public schools are among the schools with the highest ratio with an average of 30:1. This is highlighted by lydianacademy.com:
At least 36 states have put legislation in place to require lower ratios and smaller class sizes.1 Among these there are higher ratios up to 30:1 while other states require ratios as low as 15:1. California limits teacher student ratios to 25:1 with class sizes less than 32 for grades 1-3.3
In essence, the lower the ratio is, the smaller the class size is. While class size doesn’t directly correlate to quality, it generally means there’s more individualized attention.
1. Individualized Attention
As mentioned previously, the smaller this ratio is, the more individualized each class is. As we approach a ratio of 2:1 (which is what The Tenney School has) we start seeing one-to-one classes. While each student has different learning preferences, its thought to be that a student receiving more individualized attention will have a better understanding of course material. There’s still a reliance on student motivation to see improvement in grades, but a more individualized environment can help keep a student on track.
Many gifted students desire this type of learning attention as a higher ratio tends to teach to the average student in the class. This leaves gifted and talented (GT) students stagnant in larger classroom settings.
2. More Accommodating
Since a lower student teacher ratio means more individualized attention, this also means the classroom has more availability for accommodations. While all classrooms provide some amount of accommodations, each one has a limit to how much they can accommodate. Because a smaller class size has less students, more students are able to have multiple types of accommodations. It’s still important to check with your school as each school has different 504 policies. Generally these policies outline what accommodations can be met in which classrooms.
3. Flexible Scheduling
Another great benefit of a low student teacher ratio is the ability for flexible scheduling. Here at The Tenney School where we have a student teacher ratio of 2:1, we work with families and students around their schedules to allow for things like outside counseling appointments, doctors appointments, competition schedules, performance schedules, and more. Because our classes are all one-to-one, students can switch to online learning if their schedule requires it.
Is a Small Class For You?
While we outlined the benefits of a smaller class size, it’s important to note that not every student enjoys or thrives in this setting. While it’s great for getting individualized attention, the students will get less opportunities to work with their peers. The Tenney School has found a way around this by incorporating group “labs” into each and every student’s schedule. These labs are reserved for lessons that teachers believe are better taught in a small group setting. (3 – 7 students). In our experience, this class size for labs is the perfect amount as each can still get individualized attention while still encouraging students to work with their peers. If you’d like to see our one-to-one classes in action, you can schedule a tour or inquire today!