A. Jakaitienė, R. Želvys, D. Stumbrienė, L. Ringienė, J. Vaitekaitis, S. Raižeinė
ECER 2020, Glasgow Educational Research (Re)connecting Communities, 2020 m. rugpjūčio 25-28 d., Glazgas, UK.
Abstract. Class size is often considered as one of the factors which can have an impact on educational effectiveness. Positive effects of reducing class size were revealed by the large-scale student achievement studies in the USA and several countries of Southeast Asia, which consequently led to the class size reduction policies in these countries. Similar policies were eventually adopted in Europe; most of the EU member states have set requirements for the maximum class size. However, there are few research studies focused on class-size effect in the European countries. The existing research evidence reveals contradicting results on the impact of class size on student achievement. E. g., Wößmann and West (2006) analyzed TIMSS 1995 data and results didn‘t indicate any significant effect of the class size on the maths achievement of 8th grade students. Schen and Konstantopoulos (2017) used PIRLS 2001, 2006 and 2011 data in order to estimate the class-size effect in eight European countries: Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Results indicate that class size effects on reading achievement are not significant across countries and years. One exception was Romania where class size effects in 2001 and 2011 were significant: reducing class size corresponded to increases of reading achievement. In another study, Shen and Konstantopolous (2019) analysed class size effect on eight grade students by using TIMSS 2003, 2007 and 2011 data. The results revealed class size effects in Romania and Lithuania, but not in Hungary and Slovenia. The aim of the study is to investigate class-size effect (teacher/ student ratio) and students’ achievements in mathematics using national data sets (maturity and 10th grade national assessment examinations) and large-scale assessments data.
National data sets contains individual level data for the entire Lithuanian student population, who have taken maturity examinations for the 2014-2018 period. For the purpose of this study, individual level data was aggregated up to school level. The data was provided by the Centre of Information Technologies in Education of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. Large-scale assessments data (PISA, TIMSS) comes from OECD and IEA. Firstly we analyse national data. Secondly we compare the results from national data set with PISA and TIMSS. At this stage we also compare results of Lithuania with respect to other Europeans countries.
From national data set and PISA, we obtained that achievements in mathematics and teacher/student ratio is significantly negatively correlated in Lithuania. Lithuania is criticized for having too many teachers in secondary education. We provide evidence why we observe high teacher/student ratio in Lithuania. When comparing results with other European countries, we observe mixed results. Our findings, similarly to Schen and Konstantopoulos (2017), acknowledge that these results could be informative to policy makers who should exercise with caution when planning to implement class-size reduction policies to improve student achievement. We agree that class-size reduction programs may work in some countries and contexts, but not in others.