The effect of overcrowding on student performance in elementary classrooms research proposal paper
The effect of overcrowding on student performance in elementary classrooms
The ratio of teacher to students in Jamaica schools are too high, hence a negative effect on student performance. In Jamaica it is one teacher to approximately 45 students on average. Most of these students are from inner city communities and are from single parent background with three to six children on average. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for at-risk students, as well as others, to lose interest in school and do poorly on tests. There identifies four specific problems regarding overcrowding, students not getting individual attention, low reading scores, frustration and stress felt by the teachers and the inability of students to concentrate or stay on task while in class.
The problem identified can be that teachers are unable to give individual attention to the students. Teacher's aides are not always available and sometimes students have to share textbooks. It can take the entire class time for students to find seats, make sure everyone has a textbook to look at and then explain the next assignment. This leaves no time for individual attention to explain assignments or answer questions. Thus, with teachers unable to help individual students, those who need extra help in gaining or maintaining their reading skills get left behind. They are unable to keep up the reading or in class discussions because of many students in one class.
Overcrowding in the classroom, pernicious problem which can dramatically affect the quality of student’s education in the primary and secondary grades, has become issue for students and educators alike in recent years. Inequalities in the distribution of the student population over given area, as well as the dramatic growth of the immigrant student population, have caused additional strain on a public school budget already overburdened with the technology-driven needs of the modern-day student. While urban areas have seen population decreases, surrounding suburbs have seen a corresponding population increase. This rapid redistribution of populations causes two problems key to overcrowding: the existence of school-related buildings in areas where people no longer need them, and a lack of school-related buildings in areas where larger groups of students reside. The problem of overcrowding creates others problems. Students are not able to get the proper attention they need, teachers are being overworked with the added weight of extra students to teach, more papers to grade, as well as a strain on resources like parking spaces, playground equipment, lunch room tables, and desks. Overcrowded classrooms put students at risk for lower achievement rate than would likely be seen in smaller classrooms. The higher the student to teacher ratio, the less likely students are to be attentive. Students who need help with their work may need to wait several minutes before the teacher can aid them, as all the other children must be attended to as well. The issue of overcrowded classrooms is spread out unequally and unfairly across the nation, overcrowding is the biggest problem in poor communities where more than half of the students are ethnic minorities. A statistical analysis report collected information from principals around the country, and 15 percent of the principals reported that their schools were overcrowded. Ideas to solve this problem were proposed, such as the use of portable classrooms, converting storage space into classroom space, and increasing class size (Public School Principals). Yet, these do not seem like valuable solutions, as none of these proposed methods aim to reduce classroom size. The development of several plans based on linear programming and geographic methodology will permit school administrators to make better decisions concerning the planning of school districts: where to locate boundaries, how to eliminate overcrowding, where to locate new classrooms, and how to overcome de facto segregation. The primal and dual solutions of five linear programs are analyzed and mapped. Two plans transfer students between schools, and three plans assign students to schools based on their residence. By analyzing several plans, the administrator will have better understanding for organizing his facilities to serve educational goals better (Maxfield 1972, pp. 582-590).
Good facilities appear to be an important precondition for student learning, provided that other conditions are present that support a strong academic program in the school. A growing body of research has linked student achievement and behavior to the physical building conditions and overcrowding.
Impact on student achievement/performance
Cash (1993) examined the relationship between building condition and student achievement in small, rural Virginia high schools. Student scores on achievement tests, adjusted for socioeconomic status, was found to be up to 5 percentile points lower in buildings with lower quality ratings. Achievement also appeared to be more directly related to cosmetic factors than to structural ones. Poorer achievement was associated with specific building condition factors such as substandard science facilities, air conditioning, locker conditions, classroom furniture, more graffiti, and noisy external environments. Hines' (1996) study of large, urban high schools in Virginia also found a relationship between building condition and student achievement. Indeed, Hines found that student achievement was as much as 11 percentile points lower in substandard buildings as compared to above-standard buildings. McGuffey (1982) concluded that heating and air conditioning systems appeared to be very important, along with special instructional facilities and color and interior painting, in contributing to student achievement. Proper building maintenance was also found to be related to better attitudes and fewer disciplinary problems in one cited study.
Overcrowded schools are a serious problem in many school systems, particularly in the inner cities, where space for new construction is at a premium and funding for such construction is limited. As a result, students find themselves trying to learn while jammed into spaces never intended as classrooms, such as libraries, gymnasiums, laboratories, lunchrooms, and even closets. Although research on the relationship between overcrowding and student learning has been limited, there is some evidence, particularly in high-poverty schools, that overcrowding can have an adverse impact on learning.
A study of overcrowded schools in New York City found that students in such schools scored significantly lower on both mathematics and reading exams than did similar students in underutilized schools. In addition, when asked, students and teachers in overcrowded schools agreed that overcrowding negatively affected both classroom activities and instructional techniques. (Rivera-Batiz and Marti, 1995) Corcoran et al. (1988) found that overcrowding and heavy teacher workloads created stressful working conditions for teachers and led to higher teacher absenteeism.
Crowded classroom conditions not only make it difficult for students to concentrate on their lessons, but inevitably limit the amount of time teachers can spend on innovative teaching methods such as cooperative learning and group work or, indeed on teaching anything beyond the barest minimum of required material. In addition, because teachers must constantly struggle simply to maintain order in an overcrowded classroom, the likelihood increases that they will suffer from burnout earlier than might otherwise be the case.
Cash, Carol (1993). A Study of the Relationship Between School Building Condition and Student Achievement and Behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Corcoran, Thomas B., Lisa J. Walker, and J. Lynne White (1988). Working in Urban Schools. Washington, DC: Institute for Educational Leadership.
Hines, Eric (1996). Building Condition and Student Achievement and Behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
McGuffey, Carroll (1982). "Facilities." In Herbert Walberg (ed.), Improving Educational Standards and Productivity. Berkeley: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.
Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L., and Lillian Marti (1995). A School System at Risk: A Study of the Consequences of Overcrowding in New York City Public Schools. New York: Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.
Spatial Planning of School Districts Donald W. Maxfield Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 62, No. 4. (Dec., 1972), pp. 582-590. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0004-5608%28197212%2962%3A4%3C582%3ASPOSD%3E2.0.CO%3B2-3
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