Portland State University. Center for Science Education
Date of Award
Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science
1 online resource (v, 69 pages)
Group work in education -- Case studies, Science -- Study and teaching (Middle school) -- Case studies, Academic achievement -- Case studies, Mixed ability grouping in education -- Case studies.
Cooperative learning has been one of the most widely used instructional practices around the world since the early 1980's. Small learning groups have been in existence since the beginning of the human race. These groups have grown in their variance and complexity overtime. Classrooms are getting more diverse every year and instructors need a way to take advantage of this diversity to improve learning. The purpose of this study was to see if heterogeneous cooperative learning groups based on student achievement can be used as a differentiated instructional strategy to increase students' ability to demonstrate knowledge of science concepts and ability to do engineering design. This study includes two different groups made up of two different middle school science classrooms of 25-30 students. These students were given an engineering design problem to solve within cooperative learning groups. One class was put into heterogeneous cooperative learning groups based on student's pre-test scores. The other class was grouped based on random assignment. The study measured the difference between each class's pre-post gains, student's responses to a group interaction form and interview questions addressing their perceptions of the makeup of their groups. The findings of the study were that there was no significant difference between learning gains for the treatment and comparison groups. There was a significant difference between the treatment and comparison groups in student perceptions of their group's ability to stay on task and manage their time efficiently. Both the comparison and treatment groups had a positive perception of the composition of their cooperative learning groups.
Werth, Arman Karl, "Grouped to Achieve: Are There Benefits to Assigning Students to Heterogeneous Cooperative Learning Groups Based on Pre-Test Scores?" (2013). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1412.