Mary K. Novello Ed.D.

Recent Work

Testing, testing...

As long as we have to live within the one-size-fits-all government school formula, the mixed messages will continue

December 13, 2001

The verdict is in, the headlines bleat: “Test scores are down!” The verdict is in, headlines blare: “Students improve in Terra Nova Tests!”

Class Size Reduction

The Half Billion Dollar Folly

July 7, 2000

Reducing class size is a persistently seductive idea. It just "seems" as if it should be advantageous to everyone: to the students who would garner more teacher time, to the teachers who would have less paper work, to the administrators who would have a contented staff and satisfied parents. It "feels" right, but it raises many questions. First of all, what is the optimum student/teacher ratio? How much does it cost? Will it favorably affect achievement?

Plato Knew

April 1, 2000

Although school reformers have not gone so far as attempting to reach the Platonic ideal student-teacher ratio of one to one, tutor to pupil, they have been enthusiastic advocates of reducing class size. It is a proposal Which has enormous popular and political appeal, one of those innovations that just "feels" like it should work. Some two decades of research studies have indicated a relationship between classes of fewer than 20 students in the early elementary grades and achievement gains for the children fortunate to be in them.