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College of Business

Guidelines for Maximum Class Size

I. CAPC Charge--To develop guidelines for maximum class sizes for courses offered by the CB.

II. Assumptions.

A. "Maximum" class size does not mean "optimal" class size, but is a class size that is still conducive to a high level of student learning. Maximum class size should reflect the--

  1. level of the course.
  2. course learning objectives,
  3. degree of faculty-student interaction outside of class required for the students to fulfill the course learning objectives, and
  4. instructional method used.

Deterioration in the learning experience is generally experienced if the class size goes above the maximum level.

B. CWU guidelines concerning class size are outlined in Sections 2-2.44.1 and 2-2.44.2 of the General University Policy Manual. In accordance with the manual, CB classes are determined by--

  1. the available student work stations,
  2. effective pedagogy, and
  3. room size.

The manual specifies the minimum class size for 100/200-level courses as 20; the minimum class size for 300/400-level courses is 12.

C. The CB guidelines are also subject to an AACSB standard that specifies a deparment's faculty should not average more than 400 FTE credit hours per quarter.

D. The guidelines provided in this document, while keeping CWU and AACSB constraints in mind, nevertheless focus on suggested maximum class sizes that are still conducive to a quality student learning experience.

E. The class size maximums suggested in this document may be altered by the department chair to best utilize the available resources of the department.

III. Guidelines for suggested maximum class size.

A. 100/200-level introductory or principles courses using a traditional lecture format with little student interaction. Above-average faculty time commitments outside of class are not necessary in order for students to accomplish the course objectives. The suggested maximum class size is 50 students.

B. 100/200-level and some 300-level courses using a traditional lecture format with moderate student interaction. Compared to Group A courses, courses in this group require greater faculty time commitments outside of class in order for students to accomplish the course objectives. The suggested maximum class size is 40 students.

C. Some 200-level and 300/400-level courses that require above-average student interaction. Compared to Group B courses, courses in this group require even greater faculty time commitments outside of class in order for students to accomplish the course objectives. Faculty must devote additional time to such areas as homework, computer assignments, conferences, term papers, cases, etc. The suggested maximum class size is 35 students.

D. 400-level courses that require extensive student participation in such activities as group work, presentations, and case analysis or extensive faculty time commitments outside of class to assist students in fulfilling the course requirements. The suggested maximum class size is 25 students.

Approved by CAPC: April 17, 1995
Distributed to Faculty: April 21, 1995
Approved by Dean: July 3, 1995
Date Effective: July 3, 1995
Updated Name Change:  Fall 2001