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Class Size/Staff Ratios Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Class Size?

A class is considered to be a group of students organized for instruction and assigned to one or more teachers or other staff members for a designated time period. The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) has been tasked by Utah Legislation (53A-3-602.5) with accurately calculating and reporting class size by grade for kindergarten to sixth grade and by subject for grades seven through twelve. To fulfill this requirement, USOE calculates class sizes by dividing the total number of students enrolled in each grade on October 1st by the total number of classes in each grade.

What is the Class Size Formula?

Class size = Total number of students enrolled on October 1st / Total number of classes in each grade or course.

Note: that certain non-traditional classes, such as online classes, special education classes, bilingual classes, and English as Second Language (ESL) classes, are not included in the denominator.
In addition, an elementary school class that includes students from multiple grade levels is counted as a single class. For example, a classroom with 15 3rd graders and 15 4th graders would be a classroom of 30 students.

A secondary school class that includes students from multiple courses is counted as a single class. For example, a classroom that includes 15 Algebra I students and 15 Algebra II students would be counted as a single class of 30.

Finally, extended-day classes count as single classes. In other words, a kindergarten class where half the students in a class come 1.5 hours early while the other half stays 1.5 hours late will be considered one class. 

Why is the Median Used?

USOE reports the median class size instead of the mean class size because the median is less affected by outliers.

Where is the Class Size Report?

The state- and district-level class size numbers are reported annually in USOE’s Superintendent Annual Report. The school-level class size numbers are reported annually in USOE’s UPASS Reports.

Why are Class Size Reports not Comparable Prior to 2010?

A 2008 legislative audit discovered several ways for USOE to improve its class size calculation. USOE then implemented changes in the calculation in both 2009 and 2010 that make comparison over the years difficult and inappropriate.

What is the Pupil-Teacher Ratio?

The pupil-teacher ratio refers to the number of students in a school in respect to the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers in a school. For the purposes of this calculation, Utah legislation (53A-1-301) defines teachers as “regular classroom teachers, school-based specialists, and special education teachers.” Other adults in the school, such as bus drivers, counselors, administrators, etc., are not included as a teacher.

What is the Pupil-Teacher Ratio Formula?

Pupil-Teacher Ratio = Total number of students enrolled on October 1st/Total number of FTE teachers.

Once the school-level ratios are calculated, the state- and district-level ratios are calculated by taking the median pupil-teacher ratio of the schools within a school district. 

Where is the Pupil-Teacher Ratio Report?

The state- and district-level pupil-teacher ratios are reported annually in USOE’s Superintendent Annual Report. The school-level pupil-teacher ratios are reported annually in USOE’s UPASS Reports.

Where is the Pupil-Adult Ratio Report?

USOE no longer reports pupil-adult ratios, after revised legislative rules that were enacted in 2010.