Have better results in class group work

Submitted by display_name_fallback on

Madee Salehi, PhD 

Some of us  believe that a good  composition for  a group work is having  one strong student and couple of weaker ones work together.  This semester in a math 092 I tried something different.  I organized groups of student who were at the same level. Then I dedicated more time to the weaker ones. I made them work in such a way that there is no group leader. All had to contribute as much as any other members.  Comparing their score of the first and second test (for weaker students) showed, in average, over ten point improvement.  I plan to rerun this experiment, next semester too. The reason I planned this experiment was earlier observation that the stronger one did the work and others just watched.  Now that all were chosen such that no one could dominate the group work, they were encouraged, not intermediated and forced to contribute something to the results of group work.

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Average: 4 (3 votes)


Peter Turner Thu, 01/02/2014 - 11:24am

Very interesting, Madee. I applaud you risk-taking! Research on collaborative learning groups emphasizes the importance of heterogeneous grouping with regards to ability, gender, ethnicity, etc. Yet you went against that, and seem to have some positive results. I look forward to your report on continued efforts in this area in the future.  One question - what about the groups of the stronger students? Did they do as well, and, assuming they complete their tasks sooner than others, what do they do with their extra time?

Becky Baranowski Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:18am

I like this way of organizing groups as well.  Thanks for sharing your results; I look forward to seeing your results this semester.

Erik Huntsinger Mon, 01/20/2014 - 5:53pm

Would you consider running one class with the mixed-abilities groups and another with homogenous abilities?  I would be very interested to see which groups do better.

display_name_fallback Mon, 01/20/2014 - 8:39pm

This was not an attempt based on a well design method of reseach.  I just tried  it in order to help my students. When I  saw the results  after  few weeks, it occured to me  that  it could be duplicated again in other semesters.  I am well familliar with method of research , had taught it  in some universities  quite frequently.  In no way  I can be sure that results are scientifically  achieved.  I recomend  that others  give it a try.  I did not  spend much time with those students who were stronger.  They  knew what  they were doing.

Kathryn French Sat, 09/13/2014 - 11:18am

A fascinating way to use Farmative Assessment techniques to imrpove student learning.