News and Speeches

Chancellor Klein Announces New Measures to Improve Transparency and Detail in Class Size Reporting

12/19/2007


Preliminary Data Indicates Progress Toward Class Size Reduction Targets

Click here to view the class size report and accompanying documents.

    Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced several improvements to increase the transparency and scope of annual class size data reporting. These improvements include more detailed school-level information about class size, with reports designed to be accessible to all audiences, particularly families. For the first time, the report provides information on the total number of students in each school at each grade, the number of classes, and the largest and smallest class at each grade level. The report also includes summary tables by borough and district, including aggregate statistics and class-size distribution charts. The current report, based on active registers dating from December 7, 2007, indicates that the DOE has continued its record of reducing class size at almost all grade levels, achieving progress toward targets established in the City’s five-year class size reduction plan. 

    “Our improvements to class-size reporting will provide more information more accessibly to parents and the public,” Chancellor Klein said. “Along with progress reports, quality reviews, parent, teacher, and student surveys, and school budgets that are easy to access and understand, the new class size reports are embedding transparency and accountability at every level in the system, from the central office to the classroom.” 

    “I would like to thank the City Council, along with Burt Sacks, Paul Egan, and Patricia Zedalis, representing the United Federation of Teachers, and George Sweeting and Ana Champeny from the Independent Budget Office, who worked with us to improve this year’s class-size report,” said Garth Harries, Chief Executive of the Office of Portfolio Development. “Their advice was instrumental in helping us design reports that are both more comprehensive and easier for families and educators to understand.” 

    Preliminary reporting indicates that particularly substantial improvements in class size were achieved among schools participating in the first year of the City’s targeted class size reduction coaching program. The coaching program provides guidance and support to a selected group of low-performing schools with historically high class size as well as capacity in their buildings to permit immediate class-size reduction impact. Principals received direct, practical guidance in class-size reduction strategies, along with priority human resources support to fill vacancies generated through class-size reduction efforts. Among 64 elementary and middle schools in the coaching program, schools achieved an average reduction of 1.2 students per class, or 4.4% fewer students than last year. The Department of Education (DOE) will be adding approximately 50 schools to the coaching program during each remaining year of the City’s five year plan, with the goal of serving nearly 275 schools in total. 

    The DOE will publish additional reports in mid-February 2008 based on the official and final register of all students and a year-end analysis to be released in July 2008 for purposes of Contracts for Excellence reporting. The DOE also will continue working to improve data collection and coding to provide a better picture of students’ actual class-size experience, particularly at the middle school level. In the current data system, middle school class-size is based on the “official class” of students, typically their homeroom. Most middle schools schedule students similarly to high schools, with students rearranged for academic subjects, often in smaller class size groupings. The DOE is pursuing system improvements that will allow tracking of academic class sizes in middle school similar to the tracking methodology used at the high school level. 

    Click here to view copies of the class size report, along with a glossary of key terms and a summary of methodology.

###

Contact: David Cantor / Debra Wexler (212) 374-5141