Class sizes matter in Developmental Ed

By Michael A. Garza Jr.
Pulse Staff Reporter

National research says that developmental class sizes should be no larger than 15 students per class, but Palo Alto’s class size is set at 22 right now.

Developmental classes are for students who did not test to be in a college-level course and who did not receive this knowledge in high school or have been out of a school environment for some time.

“Right now, our Integrated Reading and Writing classes are consistently classified as a high-risk course due to the poor success rate of our students,” said Matilda Staudt, lead instructor for Developmental English and Reading at Palo Alto College.

“I am much more effective as a teacher with a small class, and I am able to give more one-on-one attention with smaller classes,” said Staudt, who believes students’ success in upper-level courses is hindered.

The National Council of English Teachers agree and suggest that one-on-one attention for developmental students is crucial to success. The load of English teachers should not exceed 45 students per semester or 60 if it is a non-developmental class.

Staudt mentioned that she has had brief discussions with our administration about class sizes here at PAC. She has a formal meeting set up for Tuesday, Oct. 18, to further discuss the matter.

Abraham Rodriguez, a sophomore Biology major who attended PAC’s Integrated Reading and Writing 420 class, would also like developmental class sizes to come down to about 15 students.

“It is very important to have enough time with the instructor in order for the student to know what the instructor fully expects from them for the assignment or class,” said Rodriguez.

He mentioned that he would sometimes go to the tutoring labs and that the tutors could help to an extent, but the attention from the instructor themselves would be more precise to help with what they were seeking.

Others disagreed with reducing class sizes here at PAC and say that other resources are not being taken advantage of that could really help increase the success rate of our students in our developmental classes.

Laurie F. Medina, a certified advisor and certifying official for the Veterans Affairs Office at PAC, thinks that classes at PAC are good set at 22. She believes extra resources available to students, like computer labs and the tutors that go with them, are not being used to their full potential.

“I think that now we live in an age that we are so busy we don’t have time to do what we need to do and go get the tutoring and use the resources that are available to us and pay for already with our tuition,” said Medina.

Omar Rios, a freshman Biology major here at PAC, agreed with Medina.

“If there were any less, I don’t think it would make a difference, but if there were any more, it becomes a problem,” said Rios, who’s enrolled in Math 0310.

Rios also said that if he was not able to get the instructor’s help, he would go to the Math Lab and get help from the tutors, who are very knowledgeable.

Math, Reading, Science and Writing tutoring labs are available to all students from Monday through Saturday. Click on the links for specific times and locations.