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Le lien entre la taille des classes et les compétences cognitives et non cognitives

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  • Marie Connolly
  • Catherine Haeck

Abstract

La taille des classes fait régulièrement l’objet de débats dans les discussions visant à établir le meilleur moyen de contribuer à la réussite éducative des jeunes. Des classes plus petites sont vues comme étant bénéfiques au développement des compétences et à l’apprentissage des élèves. Le gouvernement du Québec investit beaucoup de ressources dans la formation des jeunes : en 2014−2015, les dépenses consolidées en éducation et enseignement supérieur totalisaient 20,3 milliards de dollars, soit près de 23,7 % des dépenses. Une importante catégorie de dépenses est la masse salariale des enseignants. Or le nombre d’enseignants requis est en partie déterminé par la taille des classes : plus les classes sont petites, plus le nombre d’enseignants sera élevé, donc plus les dépenses sur la masse salariale le seront. Il convient donc de se demander quelle taille de classe maximale sera optimale du point de vue de la société. Pour informer cette question, il est nécessaire d’avoir de l’information sur les bénéfices engendrés par la réduction de la taille des classes. Durant la dernière décennie, la taille des classes a diminué au Québec. En 2016, la taille maximale d’élèves par classe variait de 17 élèves en maternelle 4 ans à 32 élèves en secondaire 3 à 5. Notons aussi qu’au niveau primaire, les tailles moyennes et maximales sont maintenant plus basses dans les milieux défavorisés, mais de seulement 2 élèves en 1re année à 6 élèves en 6e année. En maternelle 4 ans et 5 ans, il n’existe cependant pas de différence entre les milieux défavorisés et les autres, bien que la littérature sur le sujet indique que les gains de réduction de la taille des classes semblent être principalement concentrés chez les très jeunes élèves de milieux défavorisés. Dans ce rapport, nous cherchons à faire un compte rendu éclairé de la littérature économique sur le sujet et à identifier l’impact de la taille des classes dans le contexte québécois en utilisant des données quasi administratives sur les élèves de la maternelle, soit les données de l’Enquête québécoise sur le développement des enfants de la maternelle. Notre objectif est d’arriver à une estimation précise et causale de l’effet de la taille des classes sur le développement cognitif et non cognitif des enfants. Il existe très peu d’études portant sur le Québec utilisant des approches permettant de bien identifier l’impact de la taille des classes sur la performance scolaire, et non pas la corrélation entre la taille des classes et la performance scolaire. Nous nous concentrons sur les enfants de la maternelle pour plusieurs raisons. Premièrement, la littérature suggère que l’impact, s’il existe, est particulièrement important en bas âge. Deuxièmement, il existe des données quasi administratives sur les enfants de la maternelle nous permettant de faire une analyse fine. Ceci n’est pas le cas pour les autres niveaux scolaires. Enfin, la taille des classes ainsi que la composition des classes peuvent plus difficilement être manipulées à l’entrée à l’école.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie Connolly & Catherine Haeck, 2018. "Le lien entre la taille des classes et les compétences cognitives et non cognitives," CIRANO Project Reports 2018rp-18, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirpro:2018rp-18
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    File URL: https://cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/2018RP-18.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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