Date of Award

4-1988

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if cooperative learning in the form of study games could have an effect on student test performance. The subjects were 96 eighth grade students at a suburban New York State school. The 96 students were divided into 4 classes of 24 each. The course that the students were enrolled in was physical science, which was a mandatory course at this particular school. The cooperative learning technique of utilizing games as a means of study was developed by Robert E. Slavin, at Johns Hopkins University. The particular series and steps of the games in this study were a spin-off of Slavin's work with a few different steps added. The games consisted of the teacher developing a list of questions and answers which were later transferred to flashcards by the students. The questions and answers pertained to the topic being studied and were the basis of the exam which followed. The students were divided into teams within the classroom and competed for points which were scored as a result of correctly answering the flashcard of the opposing team. For the purpose of analysis, an independent t-test was used to determine if there was a significant difference between the mean test scores of the students who played the game (treatment group), and the students who did not play the game (non treatment group). The treatment group and the non treatment group exchanged roles after 10 weeks, which consisted of taking 2 exams, where the treatment group became the non treatment group and the non treatment group became the treatment group. Statistical analysis was performed on each exam taken by the students during a total of 20 weeks. The results showed, in every exam, that the students who had participated in the cooperative learning experience obtained higher test scores than did those students not participating. On average the treatment group's test score mean was 5 points higher than the non treatment group's test score mean. In one case the treatment group's test score mean was 15 points higher than the non treatment group's test score mean.

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