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What Is the Student-Teacher Ratio and Why Is It Important?

Student-Teacher Ratio

Schools nationwide are talking about their student-teacher ratio and debating the advantages of smaller classes versus larger ones. Yet what is the student-teacher ratio, how is it different from average class size, and what are the benefits of raising the number of teachers per student?


What Is a Student/Teacher Ratio?

The student-teacher ratio is a simple measurement of the number of students enrolled in a school compared to how many full-time equivalent teachers are employed there. This is a very high-level method to evaluate educational systems to determine teacher workload and get a general idea of the level of individual attention available to students.


How Is the Student Teacher Ratio (STR) Different from Class Size?

Because the student-teacher ratio compares the number of students to the number of full-time teachers across an entire organization, a low ratio does not always equate to small class sizes. Teachers are not always evenly distributed, and some may have light course loads or coach other educators, leaving a higher student-teacher ratio for the majority of classes.

The effects of class size may be a more precise way to evaluate an individual student’s experience. If a single classroom of 30 students has 2 full-time teachers, the class size is 30 but the student teacher ratio is 15:1.1 While both measurements have value in choosing the best private or public schools, understanding the difference will help you find the level of individualized attention that will help your child thrive.


What Are the Benefits of Lower Student-Teacher Ratios?

Students Benefit Most from Lower Student-Teacher RatiosResearch suggests that small class sizes and lower student-teacher ratios benefit student achievement.2

  • Student teacher ratios of less than 18:1 show greater academic achievement in grades K-3.
  • Students facing socio-economic disadvantages showed greatest gains in smaller class sizes during primary grades.
  • Students enjoy longer-term benefits the more years they spend with reduced class sizes and a lower ratio of students to teachers.


What Is the Average Student-Teacher Ratio in the United States?

Student-Teacher ratios vary widely across the United States. At least 36 states have put legislation in place to require lower ratios and smaller class sizes.1 Among these there are higher ratios up to 30:1 while other states require ratios as low as 15:1. California limits teacher student ratios to 25:1 with class sizes less than 32 for grades 1-3.3

Some teachers unions include class size caps in their contracts as well. Higher ratios and larger classes also put additional pressure on teachers and can cause early burnout among these important educators. Maintaining and supporting talented and experienced teaching staff is another advantage of lower class sizes and ratios nationwide.


Which Students Benefit Most from Lower Student-Teacher Ratios?

At Lydian Academy, we offer a flexible private school experience with 1:1 student-teacher ratios. While some students do well in class sizes of 15-30, many learners can achieve even more academic success with less stress when they have the benefit of a comprehensive and individualized education system.

What kind of students enjoy this one-on-one learning experience?

  • Athletes with demanding training and competition schedules
  • Performance artists who have performances and rehearsals to schedule around
  • Students with parents who travel extensively and may want year-round schedules with online options
  • Individuals who face attention challenges or who simply focus better in a one-on-one learning environment
  • Those with different learning styles or learning differences whose needs may not be met in a traditional classroom setting
  • Highly gifted or Twice Exceptional (2E) learners who need more advanced coursework and want to focus on their own interests
  • Students with medical challenges, which might be physical or emotional and interfere with the strict schedules and large class sizes of some schools
  • Students who are thriving in a homeschool environment but who want to expand to more advanced coursework while moving at their own pace

Lydian Academy offers flexible year-round schedules and an innovative one-on-one learning model that allows all students to reach their goals. Building a solid and understanding relationship with teachers allows real-time adjustments and focuses on both strengths and challenges. Visit our virtual open house and find out more about the way this approach is inspiring students and parents alike.




We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.

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