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Topic: The effects of cooperative learning groups versus individual work on spelling test achievement in the 2 nd and 3 rd grade. B y: Norma Rosa Howard University Fall 2008. Introduction. Why cooperative learning and spelling achievement?

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Topic: The effects of cooperative learning groups versus individual work on spelling test achievement in the 2nd and 3rd grade.By: Norma RosaHoward University Fall 2008
  • Why cooperative learning and spelling achievement?
    • Saw a lack of cooperative learning activities being provided in the classroom
    • Saw that many students were struggling on spelling tests despite the hw assigned to them each night
review of literature
Review of Literature

What is cooperative learning and why is it used?

  • Cooperative learning is defined as “students working together in a group small enough that everyone can participate on a collective task that has been clearly assigned” (Cohen, 1994).
  • In addition to boosting academic achievement, cooperative learning groups are used in some instances to boost motivation, improve social skills, and increase self-efficacy (Emmer, 2002).
literature continued
Literature Continued…

What is needed to make CL groups most efficient in the classroom?

  • One necessity that many of the articles agreed upon was that teachers must instruct the students on how to conduct themselves in a cooperative learning group and clearly define the expectations of the assignment (Emmer, 2002).
  • Additionally, one study showed that students who were a part of an ineffective cooperative learning group were more likely to cite the teacher as a reason for their ineffectiveness (Hijzen, 2007).
    • The teacher’s role at this time is to monitor for understanding, offer support when needed, and to make sure to present tasks that are challenging and ensure critical thinking (Gillies, 2008)
literature continued1
Literature Continued…

Are CL groups effective with special needs and gifted populations?

  • Cooperative learning groups are advocated for use within both regular education classrooms as well as classrooms with special education students (Fore, 2006).
  • One study stated that gifted students showed gains in reading achievement when placed in heterogeneous groups as well as homogeneous (Mellser, 1999).
  • Contrastingly, another study showed that gifted students actually feel better about working in homogeneous groups because it is more stimulating and challenging than when working with less-capable peers (Matthews, 1992).
literature continued2
Literature Continued…

Are CL groups effective for urban populations?

  • One study done of elementary school African American males revealed that they felt they learned best through cooperative learning groups with limited teacher interaction (Wilson-Jones, 2004).
  • Another study done in Bermuda revealed that students of color showed gains in achievement and attitudes toward math when using CL methods. (Vaughan, 2002).
statement of hypothesis
Statement of Hypothesis
  • It is hypothesized that students who complete spelling enrichment tasks in cooperative learning groups will improve more significantly on spelling tests than students who work individually.
methodology participants
Methodology: Participants
  • Urban elementary school in Northeastern Washington, DC.
  • Majority of students in the school are of low SES.
  • Study will include one (1) combination 2nd/3rd grade classroom
    • 25 students: Twelve 2nd graders/ Thirteen 3rd graders
    • All but one student is African American
methodology instruments
Methodology: Instruments
  • Spelling enrichment tasks
    • Created by cooperative teacher and researcher
  • Observations
    • Researcher will observe interactions, behaviors, progress, etc. of students during tasks
  • End of intervention student survey
    • Created by researcher to assess students’ feelings on enrichment tasks and feelings toward working in groups or as individuals
methodology design
Methodology: Design
  • Study will begin with the assignment of students to work in either groups or individuals.
    • Assignments will be made using a random table of numbers.
  • To act as a basis of comparison, the average scores of students’ previous spelling tests will be determined before the intervention takes place.
  • Students will then experience the intervention for a period of 4 weeks. After each week, an assessment will be administered.
  • Finally, an average of these four assessments will be determined.
  • Additionally, students will complete an enrichment activities student survey.
methodology procedure
Methodology: Procedure
  • Both students in groups and those working as individuals will work on the same enrichment tasks at the same time.
    • Interventions will run for 30-45 minutes once per week for a total of four weeks.
  • Throughout the week, students will continue to complete their spelling homework.
  • At the end of each week, students will be assessed on the 20 high frequency words of the week.
spelling enrichment tasks
Spelling Enrichment Tasks
  • The researcher and/or teacher will call out a word from the spelling list and have the students locate the correct word in their flash cards. This will allow students to use their knowledge of phonics to identify the correct words even if they can’t quite spell them on their own yet. The students who are in groups will have to hold up one flash card which they have all agreed is correct whereas the individuals will have to choose on their own.
  • Students will create flash cards of each word in their spelling list. Students in the groups will quiz each other using the flash cards and work together to memorize the correct spelling. As for the individuals, they will do the same only by themselves.
  • Students will be asked to identify the number of letters in each word and then break that into the number of vowels and consonants in each word.
methodology data analysis
Methodology: Data Analysis
  • The statistical method that will be used to compare the previous test scores with the post-treatment scores will be an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
  • Additionally, survey results will be reported according to the major themes presented in them.
methodology time schedule
Methodology: Time Schedule
  • The study will begin during the second week of my student teaching which is tentatively scheduled for January 2009.
  • The intervention will last four weeks and analysis of the data will be completed promptly after. Final results will be reported within 6-8 weeks of the start of the study.
  • Cohen, E. (1994). Restructuring the classroom: Conditions for productive small groups. Review of Educational Research, 64(1), 1-35.
  • Emmer, E., & Gerwels, M. (2002). Cooperative learning in elementary classrooms: Teaching practices and lesson characteristics. Elementary School Journal, 103(1), 75-91.
  • Fore, I., Riser, S., & Boon, R. (2006). Implications of cooperative learning and educational reform for students with mild disabilities. Reading Improvement, 43(1), 3-12.
  • Gillies, R. M., and Boyle, M. (2008). Teachers' discourse cooperative learning and their perceptions of this pedagogical practice. Teaching and teacher education, 24, 1333-1348.
  • Hijzen, D., Boekaerts, M., and Vedderm P. (2007). Exploring the links between students' engagement in cooperative learning, their goal preferences and appraisals of instructional conditions in the classroom. Learning and instruction, 17, 673-687.
ref cont
Ref. Cont.
  • Matthews, M. (1992). Gifted students talk about cooperative learning. Educational Leadership, 50(2), 48-50.
  • Melser, N. (1999). Gifted students and cooperative learning: A study of grouping strategies. Roeper Review, 21(4), 315.
  • Piaget, J. (1972). The principles of genetic epistemology. New York: Routledge.
  • Slavin, Robert. (1996). Research on cooperative learning and achievement: What we know, what we need to know. Contemporary educational psychology, 21, 43-69.
  • Stevens, R. & Slavin, R. (1995). The cooperative elementary school: Effects on students’ achievement, attitudes, and social relationships. American Educational Research Journal, 32(2), 321-351.
ref cont1
Ref. Cont.
  • Vaughan, W. (2002). Effects of Cooperative Learning on Achievement and Attitude Among Students of Color. Journal of Educational Research, 95(6), 359.
  • Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. Readings on the development of children. New York: Scientific American Books.
  • Wilson-Jones, L., & Caston, M. (2004, December). Cooperative Learning on Academic Achievement in Elementary African American Males. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31(4), 280-283.