INTRODUCTIONThere have been many studies done on the effects of studying in groups and test scores. Cooperative learning is a group of methods where groups of students work together on homework or exams (Jacob, 1999). Many of the studies have proven to be effective in improving academic achievement, attendance, behavior, motivation, and self-confidence (http://www.ed.gov/pubs/OR/ConsumerGuides/coopkear.htm).
Students that have poor grades benefit more from group studying. According to researchers, there is little evidence of cooperative learning at the college level. There are more cases in the elementary and high school level. What little college information there is shows that group studying is more effective with business classes. However, there is no evidence of whether or not one achievement level is better than the other (Grudnitski, & Hampton, 1996).
Sometimes the teacher feels that they have repeated themselves fifty times and the students till miss the question on the exam or homework. Teachers sometimes feel that there is a need for a second chance. This new technique proves to work and makes the students want to learn. The students take an in-class exam. Then they take the same exam home, but they get to use their books and notes. The teacher takes the average of the two scores to get the students overall grade. This gives the student a chance to earn half of their points lost on their in-class exam (Murray, 1990).
The heart of a cooperative school is teams. Studies show that working in teams have high effects on students academics. They also increase the studentís work ethics (http://www.clcre.com/pages/cs/html).The administrators are also responsible for having cooperative learning in the classrooms (Murray, 1990). There have been lots of scholars who have contributed to the idea of cooperative learning. For example, Slavin said that student team learning methods for a motivation theory in psychology. David and Roger Johnson said that you can learn together from social psychological theories (Jacob, 1999).
The purpose of this study is to see if studying in groups really effects their grades. According to the research cooperative learning is highly effective. Group studying improves studentís grades, builds self-esteem and increases a student`s motivation with school. To conduct this study I will ask various students from Missouri Western State College to fill out a survey.
Those who participated in my study were 50 Missouri Western State College Students. These students were of various majors on campus and between the ages of 18 and 30.
In order to ensure confidentiality, a survey was used for my study. The survey consisted of six questions that asked if students study in groups or independently for classes. I also asked the students their age, major, GPA, and year in school. See sample survey.
I had various Missouri Western State College students fill out a survey. I passed out my survey in the library on campus at Missouri Western State College. I informed each student that I was doing this study for my experimental psychology class.
RESULTSAn independent sample t test was used to determine if studying in groups effects students GPA. There was no significant difference between the two groups t(43)=.283, p =.778. The mean GPA of students who studied in a group was .29048 and the mean GPA of the students who studied independently was 3.0.
DISCUSSIONWhat I found was that there was no significant difference between studying in groups and students GPA. This disproved my hypothesis that studying in a group will improve studentís grades.
There have been many studies done on cooperative learning and grades. Cognitive theories, done by Piege and Vojgotsky, studied peer interaction and group work. Studies show that the two groups are highly correlated. The children improve their grades, attendance, behavior, motivation, and self-confidence. Other studies show that the outcome is not always as high. Sometimes the teachers do not give good support which leads to the children doing poorly (Jacob, 1999).
If I were to re-do this study I would re-word some of the questions on my survey. Some of the students commented that they were hard to understand. Some of my questions were also a little personal, such as asking them to put their GPA and their grade for a class.
I do not know if the results would be the same if I re-did the study. I think it would depend on how I worded asking students GPA and grade in a class. A student could lie about their GPA or grade and that could effect the whole study.
If I ever used this topic for another project I would observe instead of doing a survey. I could get two groups of students. Both groups would take a made up test. I would let one group study in their group before the test and the other group would not get to study. I would see which group did better on the test and see if studying in a group really effected their grade.
REFERENCESAlexander, Francie., Alexander, Lamar., Goldburg, Milton., & Ravitch, Diane., (1992). Cooperative learning, Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/pubs/OR/Consumer Guides/cooplear.html.Grudnitski, Gary, & Hampton, David R., (1996). Does cooperative learning mean equal learning? Journal of Education for Business, 72, 5-8.Jacob, Evelyn., (1999). Cooperative learning in context: An educational innovation in everyday classrooms. Eric.Murray, John P., (1990). Better testing for better learning. College Teaching, 38, 148-153.The cooperative school. Retrieved from http://www.clcrc.com/pages/cs.html.