chapter  5
Research on class size in France
Pages 12

The effects of class size on students’ achievement have been investigated by many studies in many countries and have led to many controversies about whether the literature is conclusive or inconclusive about the magnitude of class size effects (Whitmore Shanzenbach, 2014). In France, few studies have been specifically designed to study these effects but France does not escape the debate about the advantages and disadvantages of reducing class size. In the early 2000s, the High Council for the Evaluation of the Education System (Haut Conseil de l’Evaluation de l’Ecole) commissioned a report on this topic from Meuret (2001) and made recommendations to the government (Haut Conseil de l’Evaluation de l’Ecole, 2001). It recommended that, if a class size reduction policy had to be implemented, it should, in order to have tangible effects, involve a substantial decrease in the number of pupils per class and this reduction had to be restricted to the first grades of elementary schooling in underprivileged areas.