Page 2978 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 6 August 2008
I think there’s fairly significant evidence to indicate that smaller class sizes are essential.
She would be an authority on that and I would take her word for that. I know there is a lot of conjecture. I know Mr Gentleman, in his speech, referred to the fact that we were looking at the STR project in a not holistic way. I will make some comments about that in a moment. Ms Gisborne said there was significant evidence and I think that is right. This one action, I believe, will have that flow-on effect of once more making teaching a profession that people will be proud to be a part of and value for the excellent services that they provide to our community.
Focusing on smaller class sizes, I was interested to read some comments which emanated from research done in Columbia relating to public health, and that is something I would like to focus on now. It was really interesting. This research showed that reducing the number of students per classroom in US primary schools may be more cost effective than most public health and medical interventions. I think this is something that we need to look at. If we are going to talk about holistic approaches to our community, I think, it is an excellent parallel to look at the health outcomes for children as well as educational outcomes. The study also indicates that class size reductions would generate more quality-adjusted life-year gains per dollar invested than the majority of medical interventions, which I found quite interesting.
It is worth noting also that a study we have talked about, the STAR project, which stands for student teacher achievement ratio, is considered the highest quality long-term experiment to date in the field of education. I am reading from the EurekAlert! website, under the line “Study shows reducing class size may be more cost-effective than most medical interventions”, of 16 October 2007:
The study shows that a student graduating from high school after attending smaller-sized classes gains an average of 1.7 quality-adjusted life-years and generates a net $168,431—
that is, American dollars—
in lifetime revenue. “Higher earnings and better job quality enhance access to health insurance coverage, reduce exposure to hazardous work conditions, and provide individuals and families with the necessary resources to move out of unfavourable neighbourhoods and to purchase goods and services,” says Peter A. Muennig … assistant professor of Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School. “Regardless of class size, the net effect of graduating from high school is roughly equivalent to taking 20 years of bad health off of your life.”
When we look at the correlation, right the way through smaller class sizes are shown to benefit significantly the health of an individual. So it is quite interesting. The article continues:
The findings not only raise issues of whether investments in social determinants of health can be more cost-effective than investments in conventional medical care, “but more intriguing still, also bring up the idea that each dollar invested in education could also potentially produce other long-term returns,” observes