The question is, “What do students get out of participating in the High Impact Practice of Cooperative Learning?” Before getting to the survey results, let’s set the stage.
The final capstone of Teaching Methods 2.0 challenged me to analyze a negative situation in my classroom and develop a vision of the desired future reality, then implement an intervention.
My vision is to see ALL students asking more questions and seeking extra help when necessary, as well as offering answers more freely during demonstrations and helping each other out when I am not available. The classroom would be more collaborative during scheduled labs and coaching sessions as well as during open hours when students are working on their projects outside of class. The main goal was to increase student learning and course success rate.
The plan to achieve my vision centered around Cooperative Learning. This High Impact Practice encourages students to work together to solve problems with others and gain insight of others. More specifically it fosters Positive Interdependence, increases Individual Accountability, encourages Face-to-Face Interaction, allows students to practice Interpersonal and Small Group Social Skills as well as Group Processing.
In my classes I used group quizzes, group specific projects, and employed a peer review process. My implementation involved discussing the rationale with students up front. I facilitated the process of dividing the students into diverse groups, and then demonstrated the value with a class activity.
In order to determine if the intervention was effective, I tracked grade data to see if there were more “C” grades earned than “F” grades while maintaining a high number of “A” and “B” grades, as well as an increased course success rate up to 90%. I also checked in with groups informally throughout the course and formally after the first major project to seek qualitative feedback about acceptance and satisfaction.
The data shows an overall increase in higher passing grades. There were eighteen “A’s”, three “B’s”, one “C”, and no “D’s” or “F’s”. Without analyzing any other possible variables, I would say it was a successful experiment, but don’t take my word for it. Here is what my students had to say about cooperative learning on their end of course surveys.
“I enjoyed the team work.”
“I loved the fact that we worked in groups.”
“I appreciated having a group to work with.”
“We have an amazing interaction among our group of students.”
“Working in groups helped with getting to know new classmates.”
“Having groups for our assignments helped when I had questions.”
“Groups kept you on task and were there for additional questions.”
“We could draw on each other to help find our way through the steps.”
“The fact that we were put into groups made it easier to ask questions.”