David and Goliath: underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants
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Malcolm Gladwell

TThe first two chapters of this book address in detail at the evidence on the impact of class size on attainment.

Gladwell explores the political ramifications of an American project from the 1980s, STAR, which found substantial evidence that reducing class size improved pupils' academic achievement. Following the STAR progject, the Class Size Reduction (CSR) programme was phased out over four years, with the purpose of decreasing the size of certain classrooms to no more than 20 pupils. Though the project proved popular with parents and voters, later evaluations of CSR found that ultimately its impact on academic achievement was ‘inconclusive’. 

Gladwell goes on to suggest that while there is an ideal class size of 18-14, a good teacher is still vital to improve attainment.

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Malcolm Gladwell

Published by:
Allen Lane

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Summarising research on the impact of class size on attainment and the arguments for and against the ideal class size, the first two chapters of this book may interest policy makers and school leaders. 

Analysis of secondary data.


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R326 / 430
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