By GreatSchools Staff
When assessing a school, it's important for parents to consider how much individual attention their child will receive. This means finding out how big the classes are and whether the class has a teaching aid or other parent volunteers. For grades K through third, a student teacher ratio over 22:1 is large. For fourth grade and up, anything above thirty, without a full-time aid, is a lot for a teacher to handle. (Keep in mind that while research has confirmed the benefits of small classes in grades three and lower, there's no empirical proof that large class sizes in upper grades compromise how well children learn.)
Take student-teacher ratios with a grain of salt. Why? Because many schools count staff (such as librarians) as teachers, thereby driving down the student teacher ratios, while the classes can still be extremely crowded and teachers overloaded. For instance, if you hear that the student-teacher ratio is 15:1, then see that there's one teacher in a class of thirty five students, it's worth asking about the disparity.
Also, ask about what kind of tutoring services or learning specialists the school offers. Do they offer "pull-out" tutoring in small groups, in which a student gets special instruction during school hours. Do the teachers or other staff offer after-school or lunch-time tutoring?
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