Class Size is Important
Reducing class sizes goes a long way in laying a foundation for a positive learning environment for our students. Many factors, including class size, contribute to student success. Excellent teachers, a high-quality curriculum, and parent involvement are a few of the other factors that combine to give Alberta one of the best learning systems in the world.
The distribution of funds has changed to a per student grant with a focus on setting a good foundation in the early years. The Class Size Initiative funding formula will focus on reducing class sizes in Kindergarten to Grade 3. This is particularly important as we expect the number of students in these grades to increase significantly in the next five years. The class size formula will continue to enhance funding for specific Career and Technology Studies (CTS) courses to address safety and teacher/student ratios.
This approach will allow a more strategic and flexible approach for local boards in their decision making. Although the class size formula allocates funds based on a specific grade level or specific CTS courses, boards will have the flexibility to hire or retain teachers in any grade based on local circumstances.
When it comes to class sizes, schools and school boards are in the best position to determine classroom organization that supports parent and student educational choice. Government does not specify a maximum class size because there are no ‘one size fits all’ solutions. Since the inception of the Class Size Initiative in 2004/2005, government has invested more than $1.4 billion to enhance student learning experiences.
Class size averages should not be confused with student/teacher ratios. Student/teacher ratios measure the ratio of students to all professional staff that provide services and support to the classroom, which could include counselors, teaching assistants, librarians, principals and central office staff. Class size averages measure actual class sizes—the number of students that are in a classroom being taught by a certificated teacher. As a result, class size averages are typically higher than student/teacher ratios.
Click here to view the 2010/2011 Class Size Averages by Jurisdiction for All Subjects.
The Class Size Information System is available for calculating class size averages at the school and jurisdiction levels. The online survey tool will remain open to allow school boards to use the information tool to adjust their class sizes during the course of the year. Jurisdictions must have their class size information entered by May 30, 2012 as the data will be locked on this date.
Boards are required to use the Jurisdiction Report generated by the Class Size Information System to post their annual class size survey results in their Annual Education Results Report (AERR) each year.
For additional information:
- Alberta Education Budget
- July 2006: Additional $180 million for education in Alberta
- March 2006: Student support enhanced through Class Size Initiative
- February 2005: Increased funding results in smaller class sizes
- July 2004: Funding for new teachers to reduce Alberta class sizes