Small Learning Groups
Most education occurs within a classroom, and teachers and teaching assistants – who spend the most time with students – have a direct impact on student learning. This is why IPSF provides a significant amount of funding to the Irvine Unified School District to facilitate smaller learning groups, also called additional staffing hours, every year. These funds provide schools with greater flexibility in managing larger class sizes through the use of small learning groups.
Instructional assistants in elementary schools make it possible for teachers to work with students in smaller learning groups, which has proven to be incredibly effective. Through these smaller groups, teachers and instructional assistants can offer more personalized instruction to these groups by tailoring assignments based on skill level.
In middle and high schools, these funds provide staffing hours, enabling schools to add sections of core classes, including math and language arts. By adding sections, this reduces class sizes in key subject areas and provides students with a smaller learning environment.
The amount of classroom support funding provided to each school is determined by IUSD based on enrollment figures.
Researchers report that, regardless of the subject matter, students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats.
Source: Davis, Barbara G. Tools for Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.