Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Class size is the biggest dead end in the world,’ writer tells provincial Liberal think-tank
Published in the Toronto Star
Sun. May 16, 2010.

Malcolm Gladwell’s reported claim on the impact of class size reduction is an unfortunate piece of hyperbole, undoubtedly intended to provoke but misleading as stated. In fact there is solid evidence that smaller classes in primary grades can have positive impacts on student outcomes if they are part of an overall plan to improve teaching practices. As a general principle and unhappily for the widespread desire for simple answers to complex questions, improving outcomes in education requires attention to many factors, as Gladwell himself acknowledged in his address. The quality of teaching, while very important as Gladwell suggests, is not independent of the context.



- Gerry Connelly, Co Director Education Sustainability Development Academy, York University
- Sue Ferguson, Coordinator, The Learning Consortium, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education
- Michael Fullan, Special Policy Adviser in Education to the Premier of Ontario
- Joan M. Green, Former Director of Education, Founding CEO of EQAO, International Education Consultant
- Bill Hogarth, Retired Director of Education, Education Consultant
- Ken Leithwood, Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
- Ben Levin, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
- Penny Milton, CEO Canadian Education Association
- Jim Slotta, Professor and Canada Research Chair, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
- Charles Ungerleider, Professor, Sociology of Education, The University of British Columbia

Please see the following for further information on the issue of class size:

Canadian Council on Learning. (2005, September 14). Making sense of the class size debate. Retrieved from http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/LessonsInLearning/Sep-14-05-Making-sense-of-the-class-size-debate.pdf

Canadian Education Association. (2008). Class size reduction: What the literature suggests about what works. Retrieved from http://www.cea-ace.ca/media/en/ClassSizeReduction.pdf