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Student-Teacher Ratio

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My child is moving up from a class of 24 children, one teacher, and an aide to a fourth-grade class of 34. I'm afraid she'll get lost in the shuffle. What is the recommended student/teacher ratio for this age group?

A: The student/teacher ratio increases with upper elementary grades, but many schools try to limit class sizes to 25 students per teacher. It's been shown over the years that smaller class size is directly related to higher achievement in students, so most schools attempt to keep classes small.

Your concern about your daughter getting lost in a class of 34 students is a valid one. That is a very large class size, and it's only logical that a teacher of 24 students knows each of them better than a teacher of 34 students will. Talk with the principal to find out if it's possible for the PTA to get involved and make a difference by asking for additional teachers for your daughter's school. The actual student/teacher ratios required vary from state to state. Check with your local school system's central office to find out what the requirements are in your state.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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