Right-Sizing the Classroom: Making the Most of Great Teachers

This paper examines whether it is possible to improve student achievement by reallocating pupils among teachers so that the most effective teachers teach a greater number of students. The paper shows that student outcomes in mathematics, reading, and science improved in both the fifth-grade and eighth-grade North Carolina classrooms examined in this research study. One implication of these findings is that—through a process known as “right-sizing”—reallocating students can enhance efficiency, both in elementary and middle school grades, by increasing student exposure to effective teachers and reducing the class sizes of less-effective teachers. Achievement gaps, however, still exist for economically disadvantaged students.
Thomas B. Fordham Institute