Average class sizes at Cupertino-area high schools, exceed the California norm, according to data from the 2011-12 school year released earlier this month.
Monta Vista High School reported an average class size of 30.5, seven students higher than the state average of 23.6 students, according to statistics published on the Ed-Data website.
In addition, Homestead, Lynbrook, Cupertino and Fremont High schools recorded average class sizes at close to 30 students.
All five schools—all part of Fremont Union High School District—also had higher pupil-to-teacher ratios than the state average of 22.7. Neighboring Los Gatos High's ratio was slightly lower than the state norm.
Yet, it seems that the higher classroom sizes have not challenged the students' performance. Lynbrook, Monta Vista, Cupertino and Homestead continue to outperform schools in the state in high scores in such areas as API, SAT scores, STAR (Standaradized Testing and Reporting), and other performance measurement indicators.
"Our student performance is not a one-issue item," said Polly Bove, supertinendent of Fremont Union High School District, of the classroom sizes. "We have highly motivated students, and their families are incredible at giving them every educational opportunity."
Bove also points to the district's "great" staff for being able to capitalize on the students' self-motivation, and points out that the district would like to reduce classroom sizes but financial constraints have proved challenging.
Compare Cupertinos's high schools here or pick other schools for comparisons on the Ed-Data website:School Class Size Comparisons, 2011-12 School Enrollment Average Class Size Pupils per Teacher Number of Teachers Cupertino High 1902 29.7 23.7 98 Homestead High 2312 29.8 24.8 109 Lynbrook High 1788 29.7 23.7 84 Monta Vista High 2513 30.5 25.1 114 Fremont High 1984 29.9 23.4 105 Statewide Average n/a 23.6 22.7 n/a
The statistics are published by the the Ed-Data website, a partnership between the California Department of Education (CDE), EdSource, and the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team to provide data about K-12 education.
There's a longstanding debate surrounding the importance of class size. A report issued two years ago by the Brookings Institute indicated significant class size reduction—along the lines of seven to 10 students—had the biggest impact on student achievement, but this was much more pronounced in younger students than at the high school level.
"We wish we could reduce classroom sizes for kids, especially for those who need more attention. Of course we still have smaller classroom sizes for special needs students," she said.
Do you think average class sizes at Silicon Valley high schools are too high? How does this impact students' learning? Tell us in the comment section below.
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