Ask any teacher if class size matters and they'll tell you it makes a huge difference. Ask a parent how they feel about their child's class of 31, and you'll get an earful. Ask the kids, and they'll tell you how much it matters too.
In my 10 years experience teaching mddle school (grades 6-8), I've noticed that a class size of 20-25 is an acceptable number. Every student added over and above 25 feels like three more each, and a class with 30 or more reduces teachers to lecturers and drill sergeants; teaching looks less like teaching and more like management.
And yet, tough economic times seems to be justification for larger class sizes. In the US, Arne Duncan goes so far as to bribe teachers to take on more students:
Duncan also said that states should think selectively about increasing class sizes. The father of two grade-school-age children said he’d rather his kids be in a bigger class with a better teacher than a smaller class with a lousy one. He suggested teachers could get paid extra for getting a bigger class.
It's plain to see that increasing class sizes is being considered by policy makers as a way of saving money, and yet I wonder how the multi-billion dollar standardized testing industry will fair under tighter budgets?
If we really care about kids, tougher economic times would see high stakes testing suffer more than the children in the classroom.