Index: Education / Subcategory: K-12

Pupil/Teacher Ratio

Date updated: 05/31/2013

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) defines the Pupil/Teacher Ratio as the number of pupils in membership as of October 1 of a given school year, divided by the total number of full time equivalency (FTE) teaching assignments. The state considers a "full time assignment' to be working over 85% of a given school district's definition of full time. All time equivalencies (full time, half time, etc.) reported to the state are combined to establish the FTE (e.g.; one full time teacher plus two half-time teachers equals two full time teachers). Within this page, only state calculations have been used.

What this chart shows: Pupil/Teacher Ratios in Larimer County School Districts, 2003-04 to 2012-13

Data Source: Colorado Department of Education

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Pupil/teacher ratios in the school districts located within Larimer County fluctuated depending on a number of factors ranging from the number of teacher retirements to classroom consolidations to available funding.

Park School District saw the most fluctuation during the last decade. For the 2006-07 school year, the pupil/teacher ratio was 15.6, a ten-year high. Just two years earlier, the district's pupil/teacher ratio was at 13.3, a ten-year low.

Poudre School District saw the smallest fluctuation during this time. In 2010-11, the district experienced a ten-year pupil/teacher ratio high of 18.0. In 2004-05, the year of the lowest pupil/teacher ratio, the average class size was 16.9.

Thompson School District has consistently seen the highest pupil/teacher ratios of the three districts located in Larimer County, averaging 18.0 students per classroom over the last ten years.

Additional Information:

As stated above, the state calculates pupil/teacher ratios by combining the total number of licensed teachers in a school or district to arrive at a total full time "equivalency". Teachers, assistant teachers and teacher's aides have identifying codes associated with their positions. Only the codes for licensed teachers are used in the state calculation.

Some Larimer County school districts, however, calculate ratios differently for their own use and information. Calculating by classroom rather than using an overall district average produces both higher and lower ratios. For example, a core class such as algebra may have an actual ratio of 24 pupils to one teacher. An elective class such as art may have a ratio of 10 to one. This way of accounting provides a truer picture of actual ratios per class, but also requires much more data gathering. Dividing total enrollment by total number of teachers (as the State does) may not yield such close detail, but does provide an alternative means of assessing the potential for contact between pupils and teachers. For information regarding each Larimer County school district, go to their websites listed under 'Other Resources.'

Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Industry Standards or Targets:

There are no set standards for student/teacher ratios in Colorado. According to the State, concern regarding ratios is only generated when they are either very low or very high. However, a major goal of educational reform was to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. The National Education Association has suggested that 15 should be the maximum number of pupils per class in those grades. Small class sizes in the early grades are thought to enhance chances for student learning.

Data Table:

Pupil/Teacher Ratios in Larimer County School Districts

Year

Poudre

Thompson

Park

2003-04

17.6

17.6

14.3

2004-05

16.9

18.2

13.3

2005-06

17.0

18.6

15.1

2006-07

17.5

18.8

15.6

2007-08

17.4

17.6

14.2

2008-09

17.3

17.4

14.0

2009-10

17.0

17.0

13.9

2010-11

18.0

17.2

15.1

2011-12

17.7

18.7

14.2

2012-13

17.4

18.9

14.6

See chart