In classrooms all around Los Angeles, many teachers, parents and students alike — myself included — often ask themselves, “Are there too many students in this class?” However, despite asking myself that simple question, which could easily be answered, I had yet to seek a more in-depth answer. I recently had the opportunity to pick a topic for my English final group project and as one can guess, my group and I had decided to look deeper into this topic by focusing on the learning environment as well as the impact it has on students.

While researching the average class sizes throughout Los Angeles County, I was astonished at my findings. In the Los Angeles Unified School District the average elementary classroom size for the 2013-14 school year was approximately 32 students. The middle school classrooms had an average of 37 students and high school classrooms had around 36 students.

In the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, for the upcoming 2015-16 school year, the average elementary classroom will have 27 students, the middle school classrooms will have 34 students and 35 students in high school classrooms.

With the significant amount of students currently enrolled and the amount of students that soon will be enrolled, I immediately sought to figure out what the students thoughts were about the very issue at hand.

To further expand my research, my group mate Tylyne Hoddison and I conducted a survey amongst 90 Santa Monica High School students, of different grade levels. In doing so, I finally had the opportunity to access the various opinions high school students had about their own classroom environment.

When askedwhat the ideal class size is, 37 percent of students reported wanting 15-20 students maximum in a classroom and 28 percent wished for a class size of 25 students, with only 23 percent of the students wanting their classroom size to remain the same and 12 percent havingother input on their classroom environments. The survey reveals the true nature of how students feel about their classrooms.

When asked whether or not they believe classroom sizes have an impact on grades and classroom performance, 58 percent of students agreed with this statement and further expanded on the lack of one-on-one instructional time that is being allocated per student. An additional concern that was raised was geared toward the many distractions that occur throughout the day, which significantly reduce the amount of classroom instruction.

However, despite the various responses to wanting smaller class sizes, there are many factors that impede this from happening. The primary factor is the district budget. Without sufficient funds, school districts are often left with hiring fewerteachers, which leads to an increase in the number of students per classroom.

Not only does school budget come into play, but also the school attendance itself. The amount of students attending for the school year also determines the number of teachers that will be hired for the school year. Considerably, why should one wait for school to receive more students to be able to hire teachers, rather than to act now?

Setting aside budget costs and allowing to think about the benefits that come for students, such as more interaction with their teachers as well as being able to comfortably socialize and bond with their fellow classmates, hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes would allow one to not only ask, “Are there too many students in this class?” but as well ask themselves, “Are there enough teachers?”

Jennifer Recendez is currently a junior atSanta Monica High School.

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