High school is usually a pivoting point in every student’s life; they shape who you are, helps you make novel friendships, and build up your character. First of all, you formalize a sense of yourself, but you also learn to make your own decisions and stand up for yourself.
Moreover, high school is literally the foundation for the rest of your life. Whether you want to pursue an academic career or a work-life, high school develops your every skill and characteristic for the next step.
But have you ever thought about the structure of high school? Did you ever wonder why things are the way they are and why things work the way you do? One of the fundamental aspects that shape high schools is class size. In this article, you will learn everything one needs to know about the graduating size of high schools.
What Is a Graduating Class Size?
Every year, more and more students enroll in high school, and more are leaving with a diploma in hand. However, that does not necessarily mean that the class sizes are growing with the students. Usually, high school classes have a specific number of students they admit to each class. But, what is graduating class size?
Hence, graduating class size is the number of high school students in a specific year from a particular high school. It includes the number of students who have successfully completed their classes and exams and have graduated.
The graduating class size is basically the number of students in that specific batch who are graduating successfully.
Put in mind that there is no ideal universal class size. The number differs according to the type of high school, public or private, and the system it uses.
During the past 100 years, high schools have managed to organize themselves in specific ways to optimize students’ experiences. They have organized themselves into grade-level cohorts of 100-125 students.
Generally, there is a total enrollment of approximately 500 students into a high school every year. Hence, high schools are considered small enough to maintain an international mixture of students, and it is large enough to accommodate everyone.
What is the Average Class Size in High School?
There is no specific average class size in high school. Again, it all depends on multiple factors, ranging from my high school to another. It also differs according to the state you live in. But what is the average class size in different forms? Since it would be too lengthy to write all the various states, below is a list of factors that play a role in the average class size:
- Being a public or private high school
- Educational system
- Whether the high school is for teachers in self-contained classes or teachers in departmentalized instruction
- The size of the school
The national average public school student size is around 526 students for the academic year 2021-2022. Georgia has the largest average public school size, with 769 students this year. On the other hand, the stater with the smallest average size is Montana, standing at 179 students.
Top 3 Highest Average Public School Size
- Georgia: 769 students
- Guam: 734 students
- Florida: 709 students
Top 3 Lowest Average Public School Size
- Montana: 179 students
- South Dakota: 205 students
- North Dakota: 238 students
Moreover, the county with the largest average public school class size is Gwinnett County, GA. It contains 1,311 students.
But what is the average graduating class size? This also ranges depending on the year. However, it is estimated that approximately 89% of students are graduating each year, only increasing as the years go by.
What is the Ideal Class Size for High School?
The graduating class size of high schools depends on the number of students in the class and how many graduate. As discussed, an average of 85% of students graduate from high school each year. As the average number of students per class in high school is 25, the graduating class size is approximately 21.
Does class size matter? Well, you might think it does not make a difference. Since you’re most likely a student at this point, you would go through your day not even thinking about how things would have been if your class size was smaller or larger.
Researchers have come to a unanimous conclusion that smaller class sizes are more efficient. That is because they produce more social, confident, academically-intelligent, and emotionally capable students.
There are numerous studies on the topic, including Glass and Smith’s class-size research in 1978 and the Tennessee Project STAR conducted the mid-1980s.
These researches have concluded that small class sizes are the ones that result in students getting higher test scores. They also tend to have fewer students dropping out. They also balance out the inequalities for minorities and children of poverty.
But most countries do not follow the reduction concept; they have a large class size. The average class size by country is 24.1, which is much higher than the recommended 18.
The ideal class size for high school might be smaller than you think. Despite fruitless efforts of numerous high schools to reduce their class size, making it smaller does not seem to cut it. Apparently, reducing the size from a massive class to a relatively large one has benefited the students.
Hence, researchers have agreed that the perfect class size constitutes 18 students. However, this setup is incredibly infeasible for most high schools. Most would face financial constraints, limited space, and not enough resources to provide for additional classes.
Does Class Size in High School Really Matter?
Well, think about it this way. Does class size affect learning? Of course, it would make a difference. Having a smaller class size will help the professor focus more on individual needs and develop better communication with the students.
However, that is not due to the teachers shifting their behavior. The change in the learning atmosphere all rests on students’ shoulders, and they are the ones who carry out the class. Simply put, it is more difficult for students to hide undesirable behavior if there are fewer people in the class. But why is that the case?
- Students are less encouraged by other students to act out and act upon undesirable instincts
- Fewer people in the class means it is harder for students to hide things they don’t want others to see
- Students feel a more intense feeling of commitment once there are fewer students in class
- It gives students the chance to concentrate more intently on the instructor
- As of this day, approximately 80% of states in the union have a class size reduction law policy. However, it seems unclear how efficient, reducing class size is to this day. People often debate whether the reduction is worth the money needed to sustain the students.
- To make things a little clearer, below is a summarization of the results from the other research:
- Small classes seem to be more efficient as they allow the teachers to have a more personalized approach towards different students. This probably is the main reason academic achievement increases in smaller classes. Teachers do not notably change the way they teach students; instead, they become more efficient at delivering their points.
- The efficacy of classroom management for smaller classes does increase. Kids will pay more attention the fewer people are present in the classroom.
- If you want to get better results from smaller groups, it must be coupled with excellent administrative and parental support.
- Reducing the space and the number of students in the class should not be co-dependent. We mean that reducing the area in the classroom will not result in any difference; students still need the vast space to perform better.
- Students with special needs have been proven to perform better in smaller class sizes.
- More engagement is present in smaller class sizes with both the instructor and their peers.
- As the class size is decreased, teacher retention generally increases.
It has also been proven that reducing class size is most beneficial when applied to grades K-3. You would want the kids to build foundational literacy on proper grounds and their mathematical skills.
How Do You Find Out Your Class Size in High School?
To figure out how to find your class size in high school, let us find a more specific definition for what a class size is. Class size is the average number of students per class, which means you have to find out the total number of students enrolled in your high school and the total number of classrooms.
You can always go around and count people in your high school, or you might already know how many students there are at your school. However, the easiest way is to go as the administration at your school. Simply ask them for the number of students enrolled in high school and how many classes are there.
However, put in mind that when people ask about the graduating high school class size, they are most likely asking about how many students are graduating. It usually refers to the graduating number from that specific high school during that year. Hence, the graduating class size is often the total number of students graduating.
For 2020, the average size of the high school graduating class was approximately 140. If you want to find out the average class size of high school graduates, the calculations look something like this:
- Find out the number of students in a typical public high school (752 students in 2020)
- Find out the number of high schools (24,000 high schools in 2020)
- Find out the total number of students that are graduating in that specific year (3,300,000 students in 2020)
- Find out the number of students per graduating class (137.5 students)
To determine the number of students present in that graduating class, you need to divide the total number of graduates by the number of high schools.
To determine the graduation rate since the freshman year, you need to divide the number of students in an average public high school by four, then divide the number of graduates by that number. You would get 73% for the year 2020. (The calculation is as follows: 137.5 / (752/4) = 73%)
Wrapping Things Up: What is the Graduating Class Size of High Schools?
The average graduating class size of high schools during the year 2020 was approximately 140 students. Every year, the total number of graduating students will differ because the total number of students enrolling is also growing.
Moreover, smaller classrooms that constitute around 18 students have been proven to be optimal for students. While that might be difficult to achieve, numerous states and countries have worked towards that.
Despite financial difficulties, it does pan out in the long haul. Smaller classrooms will definitely increase kids’ academic performance and provide a safer environment to express themselves.