The effect of cooperative learning instruction on K-12 student learning: a meta-analysis of quantitative studies from 1998-2009

Igel, Charles C, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Fan, Xitao, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Grissmer, David, CU-Leadshp, Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia
Mintz, Susan, CU-Curr Instr & Sp Ed, University of Virginia
Pianta, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Cooperative instruction is one of the most theoretically-grounded, popular, and misunderstood of the instructional strategies. Grounded within social-psychology and learning theory, properly specified cooperative instruction requires design elements such as positive interdependence and individual accountability that go beyond basic group-mediated instruction. Despite its popularity and a large corpus of literature, practitioners and researchers alike often confuse cooperative instruction with less stringent forms of group-mediated instruction. The present study clarifies this distinction, and meta-analyzes the results of twenty rigorous studies on the effect of cooperative interventions on K-12 student learning. The meta-analysis employs rigorous selection criteria to maintain internal validity and newly developed statistical adjustments to account for analytic errors found throughout much of the primary research base. Findings reveal a moderate overall effect (0.44) for cooperative interventions with differential estimates across a range of moderators. These finding are placed within the context of the larger corpus of research on cooperative learning and its implications for practitioners discussed.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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