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Does Class Size Matter? Research Reveals Surprises

Researchers generally agree that lower class sizes, at least in the earliest grades, are linked to positive educational benefits such as better test scores, fewer dropouts and higher graduation rates, especially for disadvantaged children.

They disagree, however, on whether those benefits outweigh the costs — I-1351 would cost nearly $5 billion through 2019 for more teachers and other school staff — fueling a highly politicized debate that becomes more intense when money is tight.

In recent years, researchers have been trying to figure out why smaller class size works, how it works and who benefits most.