The effects of peer tutoring and cooperative learning in an inclusive chemistry classroom
Olson, Leo Brennan
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This classroom research project examines the effects of targeted peer tutoring and cooperative learning strategies in the high school chemistry classes based on academic and social outcomes for students with and without disabilities. A Treatment Unit consisted of three weeks of instruction using peer tutoring and cooperative learning strategies. Students took a pre and post content assessment to measure academic gains during the Treatment Unit, which was compared to academic gains in a Non Treatment Unit. Students also took a pre and post survey on attitudes on learning styles and evaluating their preferences on peer tutoring and cooperative learning. Exit interviews were conducted with six students. Data was analyzed for two subgroups, students with disabilities (n = 6) and students without disabilities (n = 38), as well as for the entire research group (N = 44). The data suggests slight improvement in academic gains for students with disabilities in the Treatment Unit and no change for students without disabilities. Students responded positively before and after treatment to peer directed learning activities. Exit interviews demonstrated positive effects on interpersonal relationships in the classroom.