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Table 49. Classroom Behavior for First Grade and Second Grade

GRADE 1 GRADE 2

Individualization N = 28 N = 16

Monitoring 14 9

Grouping 6 14

Choice 2 0

Help 26 23

Participation 43 42

Whole Class 6 10

All Children 3 1



Engagement N = 28 N = 15

Listening 50 45

Practicing 5 11

Responding 26 23

Gaming 1 2

Manipulating 4 2

Creating 4 1

Dialoguing 4 6

Problem Solving 2 4

Reporting 2 5

Reflecting 0 0

Initiating 3 2



Management N = 27 N = 14

Praise 31 22

Reproof 9 14

Remind 19 21

Warms 4 3

Cools 1 2

Peer 12 11

Permits 24 26

Classroom Behavior in Different Types of SAGE Classrooms

Table 50 reports the observed classroom behavior for four types of SAGE classrooms:

15:1 Regular, 15:1 Shared Space, 30:2-Teacher Team, and 45:3-Teacher Team. Again the

results are generally uniform across these four types of SAGE as they were in relation to grade

level. Claims about differences in terms of type of SAGE classroom can only be speculative

because the number of teachers observed in each type of classroom is small. Some of the

possible differences in individualization are that 15:1 Regular teachers use large-group

instruction more than the other types and 15:1 Shared Space teachers work with individuals and

small groups less than the other types. In terms of engagement the types are very similar except

for dialoging which 15:1 Shared Space teachers seem to employ more than the other teachers. It

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is possible that constrained classroom space may cause 15:1 Shared Space teachers to keep the



class together more and use discussion more because there is less space for individual and small

groups to work without interruption. Management seems quite similar with the exception of

45:3-Teacher Team, and possible 30:2-Teacher Team, where more student self-directed

discipline is used.



Table 50. Classroom Behavior for Different Types of SAGE Classrooms

15:1 Reg 15:1 SS 30:2 TT 45:3 TT

Individualization N = 27 N = 6 N = 10 N = 4

Monitoring 12 6 13 16

Grouping 8 9 9 12

Choice 1 0 1 4

Help 26 23 27 14

Participation 38 56 45 49

Whole Class 11 5 3 4

All Children 4 1 1 1



Engagement N = 27 N = 6 N = 10 N = 4

Listening 48 44 49 53

Practicing 8 3 6 7

Responding 27 21 24 21

Gaming 1 0 3 2

Manipulating 3 3 4 1

Creating 3 1 6 1

Dialoguing 2 18 2 2

Problem Solving 2 2 3 6

Reporting 3 6 2 4

Reflecting 0 0 0 0

Initiating 3 2 2 4



Management N = 26 N = 5 N = 10 N = 4

Praise 32 25 23 20

Reproof 9 20 11 6

Remind 16 28 27 17

Warms 4 2 6 5

Cools 0 1 3 0

Peer 14 12 11 8

Permits 26 12 19 45

Observation Summary

Altogether, the observations of SAGE teachers suggest that teachers in small-size classes

spend the vast majority of class time actually instructing instead of managing the class. Further,

the instruction is teacher controlled and directed. Rather than being primarily total class

instruction, however, the instruction is largely individualized in the sense that the teacher

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constantly checks with each child or a group of children during a lesson to evaluate progress and



offer help, or the teacher provides opportunities for children to actively participate in class events

and thereby articulate their current level of understanding which then can be corrected if needed.

Student-centered activities, although present in small-size classes, are not a major feature of the

classroom. The following observation example illustrates these dominant traits of small-class

size teaching and learning.

Observation Example



Mrs. Donald and her class of 14 second-grade students share a classroom with Mrs.

Johnson and her class of 15 first-grade students. The room is divided by a movable wall. In

Mrs. Donald's side of the room, the students' desks are arranged in four rows facing the

chalkboard. A calendar, class rules, U.S. map, spelling words, and other charts are fixed to the

walls. The rear of the room contains Mrs. Donald's desk, two computers, and a worktable.

The lesson began with Mrs. Donald reviewing CVCV (consonant, vowel, consonant,

vowel) words that the class had previously learned and on which they had been tested. She said

to the class, "Who can give me an example of a CVCV word?" Various children answered,

"wave," "cane," "cake," apple." "Apple? Let's put 'apple' on the board. Does 'apple' have a

CVCV pattern?" she asked. The class replied in union, "No!" She continued, "What type of

letter does 'apple' begin with?" Again the class responded in union, "A vowel!" Mrs. Donald

then said that it is a vowel and, therefore, did not fit the CVCV pattern and that "apple" is not a

good choice.

Mrs. Donald then moved on to the primary purpose of the lesson. She asked, "Does

anybody remember what other types of words we talked about yesterday?" Muhammed

responded, "Compound words." Mrs. Donald praised Muhammed and began a discussion of

compound words by asking the class what they believe that a compound is. Ashley gave the

example "cupcake," and then said, "It is two words put together to form one word." Mrs. Donald

checked the students' understanding by writing "cup" and "cake" on the board and asking if what

she had written was a compound word. Students replied, "No." When called on, Julie explained

that separate words to not make a compound word.

Following this overview of compound words, Mrs. Donald introduced the main task of

the lesson. She said, "Each of you will receive a snowman that I have already cut out of

construction paper for you. You will also receive a hat with a compound word on it and a scarf.

Your job is to draw the two pictures of two words that make up your compound word. Let's look

at the one I have done. What is the word on the snowman's hat? Snowman, right? I drew two

words together; it makes the word 'snowman.'" After responding to several children regarding

questions they had about compound words, the students began the snowman activity. Mrs.

Donald constantly moved about the classroom answering questions and offering help to each

child. At one point Mrs. Donald stopped the class to explain that glue is not needed to attach the

scarf to the snowman because the scarf is made of sticky tape. At another point, as she was

circulating, Mrs. Donald said, "Gloria, you are wasting time," and "Robin, you did not do what I

told you."

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When students had completed the snowman activity the teachers called each to the front



of the room to say their compound word and show their snowman. The compound words shared

and displayed by the children included bluebird, football, strawberry, catfish, starfish, baseball,

boyfriend, blueberry, bedroom, and basketball. Jordan, who was walking around the room

during this sharing period, was reminded of the rules of the classroom and told to take his seat.

When Keith, the last child, had reported on his compound word, Mrs. Donald asked the

class, 'What did you learn about compound words today?" She answered her own question by

stating that when the students came upon a new word they should investigate the word to

determine if they know any part of it. If so, it may be a compound word that they could figure

out. She then introduced a new set of compound words such as "overnight" and "steamboat" and

asked students to define them. Several students gave their interpretations of each of the terms.

"OK, class," Mrs. Donald next responded, "next time you see a big word you need to

investigate to see if it is a compound word, then look to see if you can figure out what the words

are that make up the compound word."

Mrs. Donald then transitioned into a reading lesson.

Teacher Logs

Teachers in kindergarten, first, and second grade in SAGE schools were asked to

complete three teacher logs during the year. The log required teachers to record classroom

events for a full day at 15-minute intervals regarding type of time, grouping, content, and student

learning activities. (See Appendix C for the Teacher Log.) The numbers of logs completed and

returned during each of the log data periods were the following: fall–326 (K–105, first–106,

second–107), winter–296 (K–92, first–97, second–100), and spring–195 (K–92, first–97,

second–99).

Log data regarding type of time, grouping, and content are reported here for first grade

and second grade. Data concerning student learning activities are not reported because they were

found to be unreliable. Many teachers had difficulty in completing the logs in this area, and

subsequently, made numerous recording errors.

Total Log Results

Total results from the Teacher Logs concerning type of time, grouping, and content are

reported in Table 51. Regarding type of time, it can be seen that almost two-thirds of classroom

time is spent on actual instruction. If time spent on planning and evaluation is added to

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instructional time the total time spent on education during a typical school day in a small size



class averages nearly 80 percent. The remaining 20 percent is spent on classroom routines and

personal time for the teacher.



Table 51. Total Log Results

ITEM FIRST GRADE

(N=285)

SECOND GRADE

(N=291)

TOTAL

(FIRST & SECOND)

TYPE

Routines 9 9 9

Instructional Time 63 61 62

Planning & Evaluation 13 16 15

Personal Time 9 8 9

Housekeeping/Clerical 6 6 6



GROUPING

Whole Group 53 51 52

Small Group 29 29 29

Individual 14 17 16

Combined Classes 3 3 3

CONTENT

Reading/Language Arts 46 45 45

Mathematics 19 19 19

Integrated 19 19 19

Other 15 17 16

The results in relation to grouping are that about half of the instructional time is spent in

whole-class instruction and slightly less than half is spent in small-group and individualized

instruction. Although spending almost half of the classroom time in small groups or working

with individuals suggests a very strong emphasis on individualization, this finding seems to

contradict data obtained from observations which indicated that SAGE teachers spend about 90%

of the classroom time in individualized instruction. Data from the two instruments are

compatible, however, because teachers probably included what was meant by the observation

category of student participation in their interpretation of whole-group instruction when

completing the log. When appropriate parallels are made between the two instruments the two

sets of data are nearly identical. They both reveal extensive use of individualization.

In terms of content, mathematics, reading, and language arts dominate instruction. They

account for 65 percent of the classroom time when taught directly and another 20 percent when

taught indirectly through content integration.

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The data obtained from the 1997–98 logs are consistent with the 1996–97 log data.



First-Grade and Second-Grade Log Results

The results for grade one and grade two for each log period, which are also reported in

Table 52, show little variation over the year and by grade level. The only slight variation that

occurs regarding the three log periods is that instructional time and small-group instruction

increase and planning time and individual instruction decrease at both grade levels over the year.

Table 52. First-Grade and Second-Grade Log Results

ITEM FIRST GRADE SECOND GRADE

Fall

N=103

Winter

N=97

Spring

N=97

Fall

N=79

Winter

N=100

Spring

N=99

TYPE

Routines 11 8 8 10 8 8

Instructional Time 58 65 65 58 62 63

Planning & Evaluation 15 12 12 16 15 15

Personal Time 10 8 8 8 8 8

Housekeeping/Clerical 7 6 6 8 5 5



GROUPING

Whole Group 55 52 52 52 51 51

Small Group 26 32 32 23 31 31

Individual 16 13 13 23 15 15

Combined Classes 4 3 3 3 3 3

CONTENT

Reading/Language Arts 45 48 49 46 45 45

Mathematics 19 20 20 18 20 20

Integrated 19 18 18 19 19 19

Other 17 14 14 17 17 17

Log Results by SAGE Classroom Type

As can be seen in Table 53 little variation also exists in log data related to the different

types of SAGE classrooms. The only differences that are evident are that 15:1 Shared-Space

teachers report spending more time on instruction than the other teachers, 30:2-Teacher Team

classes use small groups and individualized instruction more than the other classes, and 30:2

Floating Teacher classes spent more time in mathematics, reading, and language arts instruction

than the other teachers.

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Table 53. Log Results by Classroom Type

ITEM 15:1 REG

N=273

15:1 SS

N=42

30:2 TT

N=237

30:2 FT

N=18

TYPE

Routines 7 11 10 13

Instructional Time 60 66 64 59

Planning & Evaluation 17 9 13 15

Personal Time 9 11 8 7

Housekeeping/Clerical 7 4 5 6



GROUPING

Whole Group 54 49 50 52

Small Group 26 31 35 29

Individual 18 12 15 10

Combined Classes 3 8 1 9

CONTENT

Reading/Language Arts 45 47 44 44

Mathematics 19 16 19 27

Integrated 20 19 20 15

Other 16 17 17 15

Teacher Questionnaires

Teacher questionnaires were completed by SAGE teachers during Spring 1998. The

questionnaire, which elicits perceptions regarding classroom teaching, mathematics, reading, and

language arts curriculum, family involvement, professional development, and overall SAGE

satisfaction, was returned by 228 SAGE teachers (K– 72, first–72, second–78).

The classroom teaching section which contributes to this examination of classroom

events in reduced-size class consists of 11 items. The teachers were to indicate the level of their

agreement with each item and then to select and rank the three which represented the most

significant ways their teaching had been affected by a reduced-size class. The results of these

two analyses for the total group of first- and second-grade teachers, for first- and second-grade

teachers separately, and for each type of SAGE classroom follow.

Total Questionnaire Results

Table 54 contains the results for first-grade and second-grade teachers combined. An

examination of this table reveals that the teacher behaviors that received the highest ratings and

rankings are more individualized instruction; more teaching time; more discussion, sharing, and

answering; more hands-on activities; and more content coverage. Those teacher behaviors that

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received the lowest ratings and rankings, comparatively speaking, are more integrated content;



more activities based on students' prior knowledge; more use of cooperative groups; more

student choice in learning activities; and content covered in more depth. These data generally

confirm the results of the teacher interviews, the classroom observations, and the teacher logs.

Individualization is again seen as the most important classroom product of reduced-class size.

Class participation, which can be viewed as a type of individualization because individual

students received answers to their questions, voice their understandings, and receive personal

critique, is also an important product as is more time spent on teaching as opposed to

disciplining. With the possible exception of hands-on activities, these results again suggest that

the type of teaching used in small-size classes is teacher-centered, teacher-controlled teaching.

Hands-on activities, although reported both here and in the interviews to be used more often

because of reduced-class size, were, as has been shown, not frequently observed. As mentioned

earlier, the teacher questionnaire data, like the interview data, are broader in terms of subject

matter focus than the observations.

Table 54. Total Questionnaire Results (N=150)

ITEM Strongly

Disagree

Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly

Agree

Ranking

Percents

1. More time teaching 1 1 7 42 49 17

2. Covered more content 0 1 5 40 54 8

3. Integrated content 0 0 12 50 39 4

4. More depth 0 1 9 46 44 5

5. Planning/ Implementing 0 0 3 30 68 25

6. More engaging 0 0 2 42 56 11

7. More Hands-on 0 0 7 56 38 10

8. Student’s knowledge 0 1 15 49 36 4

9. Problem solving 1 1 6 51 42 6

10. Cooperative groups 0 4 19 42 36 5

11. More opportunities 0 4 14 47 35 5

The teacher behaviors receiving the lowest ratings and rankings again suggest that

teachers are less student-centered than teacher-centered in their teaching of reduced-size classes.

Student choice, independence, and interest are of less concern than individual content coverage.

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Questionnaire Results for First Grade and Second Grade



The questionnaire results found for the total group of SAGE teachers are also the results

found for first- and second-grade teachers separately, as can be seen in Table 55. The only slight

difference that is apparent is that second-grade teachers report more content coverage as a result

of small class size.



Table 55. Questionnaire Results for First Grade and Second Grade

FIRST GRADE N=72 SECOND GRADE N=78

ITEM SD D N A SA % SD D N A SA %

1 1 3 8 42 46 18 0 0 6 41 53 15

2 0 3 6 40 51 7 0 0 5 41 54 11

3 0 0 11 50 39 3 0 0 13 51 36 3

4 0 1 8 47 43 5 0 0 9 45 46 7

5 0 0 3 31 67 25 0 0 3 31 67 27

6 0 0 7 38 56 9 0 1 3 46 51 9

7 0 0 7 38 56 9 0 1 6 41 51 8

8 0 0 15 44 40 3 0 1 15 55 28 3

9 1 0 6 56 38 6 0 1 5 49 45 7

10 0 7 14 44 35 5 0 1 23 40 36 6

11 0 3 11 46 40 7 0 5 17 49 30 5

Questionnaire Results for Different Types of SAGE Classrooms

Generally, the results regarding classroom teaching reported by teachers in each of the

types of SAGE classrooms are quite similar. Teachers from each type of SAGE gave their

highest ratings to teaching time, individualization, student engagement, content coverage, and

hands-on activities. There were some differences among the four types of classrooms, however.

In comparison to the other teachers, the 15:1 Shared-Space teachers used hands-on activities less,

the 15:1 Regular teachers used problem solving more, the 30:2-Teacher Team teachers used

students' prior knowledge more, and the 30:2 Floating Teacher teachers used more time for

instruction.

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Table 56. Questionnaire Results for Different Types of SAGE Classrooms

15:1 Reg Ratings

(N=86)

15:1 SS Ratings

(N=9)

30:2 TT Ratings

(N=41)

30:2 FT Ratings

(N=5)

Item

#

S

D

D N A S

A

S

D

D N A S

A

S

D

D N A S

A

S

D

D N A S

A

1 1 0 7 48 44 0 0 11 22 67 0 0 5 39 56 0 20 20 40 20

2 0 1 7 38 54 0 0 11 22 67 0 0 0 49 51 0 0 0 60 40

3 0 0 9 48 43 0 0 11 44 44 0 0 15 61 24 0 0 40 60 0

4 0 1 9 45 44 0 0 11 33 56 0 0 7 46 46 0 0 0 100 0

5 0 0 1 24 74 0 0 0 33 67 0 0 5 34 61 0 0 0 60 40

6 0 0 0 41 59 0 0 0 44 56 0 0 2 46 51 0 0 0 80 20

7 0 0 5 40 56 0 0 22 11 67 0 2 2 39 56 0 0 20 60 20

8 0 0 20 47 34 0 0 11 44 44 0 2 2 56 39 0 0 20 60 20

9 0 0 4 52 44 0 0 11 11 78 2 2 7 51 37 0 0 20 80 0

10 0 4 12 48 37 0 0 33 33 33 0 7 27 27 39 0 0 40 40 20

11 0 2 12 51 35 0 11 22 11 56 0 5 17 51 27 0 0 20 60 20

Teacher and Classroom Summary

The results from the Teacher Interview, Classroom Observation, Teacher Log, and

Teacher Questionnaire support and extend those obtained in 1996–97. They demonstrate that the

major change that takes place in teaching when teachers teach a reduced-size class is not a total

adoption of more student-centered teaching. Teachers do not suddenly permit students to set

goals or decide on learning activities, nor do they install a problem-solving approach rich with

resources and manipulatives. Reduced-class size permits some movement toward more studentcentered

teaching, but the main effect of reduced class size appears to be a focus on students as

individuals. Many, if not most, of the techniques and methods that they use may be the same

techniques and methods that they have used in normal-size classrooms. The difference is that

now the techniques and methods are directed at individuals much more frequently. They know

each student's learning needs, they correct misunderstanding instantly, and they move ahead

when the time is right. This attention to individuals is done in one-to-one situations, in small

groups formed on the basis of need, and in total class situations through response and critique,

and it is a continual, pervasive feature of classroom life.

What appears to be happening as teachers change from teaching large-size classes to

teaching small-size classes may not be too different from what may happen to chefs as they

change from cooking in a restaurant to cooking for their families. In the restaurant, the chef

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prepares five or ten menu meals. Each meal generally does not differ in elements, portions, or



presentation. One plate of chicken breast and pasta, for example, is identical to every other, and

it is served night after night. At home the chef can pay more attention to the desires or needs of

family members. He or she can vary the menu, making sure that broccoli is not put on Alice's

plate, reducing the amount of salt for Grandma, and giving Joe two pieces of fish. The actual

food preparation in the two settings is probably very similar, however. The chef alters his or her

behavior as he or she moves from the restaurant to the home, but meal planning, food

purchasing, food preparation, and food cooking do not change. The vegetables get washed in the

same way, the rolls are baked in the same way, and the coffee is ground in the same way.

Although all conclusions about teaching small-size classes must be tentative at this time,

a model of teaching small-size classes is beginning to emerge. This model, displayed in Figure

1, emphasizes individualization, but contains other related elements. The model speculates that

having fewer students permits teachers to know them better. This knowledge aids in reducing

misbehavior, which in turn makes more time available for instruction because time is not

required to discipline students. More time for instruction and greater knowledge of students

come together to permit more individualized instruction. More time for instruction also permits

somewhat more use of hands-on activities using regular teacher-centered methods. The outcome

of this heavy focus on individuals is more content coverage and, the model continues to

speculate, more student achievement.

The pattern of teaching that Figure 1 depicts applies across grade levels and types of

SAGE classrooms. Few differences in grade level or type of classroom were revealed in

classroom data from any of the instruments. This finding is puzzling for several reasons. In

terms of grade level, one might expect some differences between first and second grade because

most of the first-grade teachers have experience in teaching reduced-size classes and most of the

second-grade teachers do not. Further, one might also expect differences because achievement

results show that although second-grade children maintained their achievement advantage over

comparison school children, they did not improve on it. The same type of instruction as first

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grade but less achievement than first grade could be explained, in part, on the basis of time. In at



least nine SAGE schools, reduced size classes at the second-grade level were not implemented

until late fall or winter.

In terms of type of SAGE classroom, differences might be expected because having

ownership for 15 students as occurs in 15:1 student-teacher ratio classrooms is clearly different

from two teachers sharing ownership of 30 students as occurs in team-taught classrooms.

Teamed teachers said during interviews that they often use an approach in which one teacher

teaches and the other monitors either offering help or disciplining if needed, but indications of

this approach or other methods peculiar to team teaching were not evident in the data from the

other instruments.

Results regarding classroom events from 1997-98 as well as 1996-97 suggest the need to

focus future study of classroom events more specifically on the themes that have emerged.

Individualization, the practice that seems to be the main effect of having a reduced-size class,

needs to be examined in greater depth as do other aspects of teaching in reduced-size classes and

potential variations in classroom events across grade levels and types of SAGE classrooms. The

data that are now needed require case studies of selected SAGE schools and classrooms. In the

1998-99 SAGE evaluation results of the first SAGE case studies will be presented.

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