enable their teachers more productively to identify and cope successfully with exceptional students.

Consultants in Wyoming took the Tennessee class size experimental results to be among the most powerful and credible research results available in education (Mosteller, 1995; Krueger, 1997). The fact that small class sizes (15 and 16 students per instructor) utilized in the Tennessee experiment resulted in higher and sustained levels of student achievement in the early elementary grades, particularly for low-income students, was a finding that the consultants forcefully brought to the attention of the Wyoming expert panels. The panels found this theory persuasive, and the result was a prototypical elementary school instruction model based upon average class sizes of 16, and overall pupil/teacher ratios of 14.4 per professional. These are among the most favorable pupil/professional ratios to be found anywhere in the nation, even among states spending substantially larger amounts of money per pupil.


Small classes can more productively accommodate exceptions. The conventional pattern by which American public schools cope with exceptional students is through categorical aid programs which provide additional resources for differential treatment. Disabled students, low-income students, gifted students, and those whose proficiency in English is lacking are often pulled from classrooms and provided with some variety of specialized instruction. Wyoming consultants were unconvinced that this model is the most effective. Certainly, for severely handicapped students, it may be necessary. However, in other instances it can be stigmatizing to the child to be identified as exceptional and it may be instructionally inefficient to depend upon pull-out programs. The small class sizes contained in the Wyoming prototypical model, particularly in the primary grades, were intended to enable a classroom teacher, with appropriate professional training, to identify students in need of extra assistance and provide such assistance herself or himself. Additional school-wide resource teachers were funded as a supplement to regular classroom resources, but without specific categorical designations. The Wyoming instructional prototypes depend upon the classroom as the first bulwark against exceptional children either falling through the instructional cracks or obtaining stigmatizing and inappropriate treatments.


Small elementary schools are generally better than large schools. The Guthrie team also suggested to the Wyoming panel participants that, all things being equal, elementary schools of approximately 200 to 400 students were more conducive to learning than larger schools (Guthrie, 1979). Experts concurred, and the Wyoming elementary prototypes are constructed around an abstraction of 288 pupils in grades K-5. This number results from having a total of six (conventional) grade levels with three classes per grade level. Class sizes are assumed to be 15 for grades K-3 and 18 for grades 4 and 5. Multiple sections at each grade level were thought to be important in the event parents wanted to have a choice among instructors at any grade level, and to allow school administrators to assign

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