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Transcript of Action Research
Groups chosen by students T-Groups:
Groups chosen by teacher Because we do so much group work in physics, I was interested in whether or not having students choose their own groups is a good idea. Problem Solving is a big part of physics
12 problem sets per year
Students are encouraged to work in groups
I usually let students choose their own groups Rationale: Summary of Literature Joe Schlessinger Maryellen Weimer John Baer Educational news website writer Educational writer and blogger Professor, Rider University School of Education What makes a good work group? Group members are comfortable with each other Students are not afraid to be wrong Helpful to other group members w/o giving away answers Students work as a team "When students dictate their own groups, they are less likely to complete the assigned work." "Not only is it more efficient to work with people you aren't as friendly with, but it helps teach a vital life skill; learning how to work with others who aren't your close friends." History Teacher:
"Get used to working with people you aren't familiar with now." "Although student-selected groups perceived they produced higher quality work, actual grades did NOT differ." "The ways in which students are grouped for instruction might influence how, and how well students learn." "Cooperative learning is most often associated with HETEROGENEOUS
grouping." Class Make-up Methodology 8th Period Honors Physics
Most are high achieving, but some students still struggle Problem Sets After each Problem Set: What I told the kids... 4 sets of word problems
S-Groups, then T-Groups
Given two 42-minute class periods to complete
I always stress understanding, not completion. Survey - Work Habits
20 Point Quiz - Achievement Surveys will not be graded for correctness
Results will have no effect on how groups will be selected this year S-Groups: No more than 4 students to a group
Must keep same group for both problem sets T-Groups: Heterogeneous based on quiz scores
At least one high, one medium, one low
Maybe should have kept this a secret Survey Results Scale Positive Trends Negative Trends Happiness vs. Efficiency +2 -1 Focused on physics
related discussions Time Management Comfortable asking group members for help Feel that I can solve and understand problems better Clearly, student happiness does not directly correlate with good work habits. How do you make it work?
Start with T-Groups from first day of school Use it for every type of group work activity (not just problem sets) Student Achievement Quiz-S & Quiz-T
Ranked students 1-20 based on Quiz-S scores
Results Tier 1
Quiz-S Scores Lowest
Quiz taken after STUDENT-chosen groups Quiz-T:
Quiz taken after TEACHER-chosen groups Achievement:
Overall Scores On average, Quiz-T scores were not significantly different from Quiz-S scores. BUT... looking at individual scores shows some interesting results Matches
data Student Achievement - Implications The results suggest that the Tier 1 students do help Tier 4 students enough to increase test scores.
Why the decrease in Tier 1 scores?
Tier 1 students benefit from working with other Tier 1 students too! Recommendations / Action Plan Next year I will use T-groups for all group related activities
Students log own progress
Assigned roles - change per problem
Recommendation to Science Dept Teacher Chosen Groups: References Baer, J. (2003). Grouping and achievement in cooperative learning.
College teaching, 51(4), 169-174.
Grooters, S. (2008, September 14). Teaching tip: assign group roles.
Retrieved from http://ctlupdates.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/
Schlessinger, J. (2013, January 15). The westword online. Retrieved
from http://thewestword online.com/opinion-teachers-should-
Weimer, M. (2011, June 10). Group work: Are student-selected
groups more effective?. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.
Weimer, M. (2013, March 20). [Web log message]. Retrieved from
things-students-can-learn-through-group-work/ Thank You! -1 One student from each Tier in each T-group. -1 -1 Implications Both positive trends pertain to classroom behavior
T-groups make students more focused and efficient
Good evidence that T-Groups are a good practice Implications Implications Both negative trends pertain to problem solving and dynamics
Teaching students how to work together can fix this trend Gatekeeper - stays on topic
Timekeeper - not "too much time"
Recorder - writes problem
Synthesizer - connects ideas
Skeptic - counter arguments Summary PROS CONS Pro: Students are more focused on physics-related discussions Pro: Students manage time better Pro: Low achieving students do better on quizzes Con: Students do not feel as comfortable with group members Con: Students are not as happy Con: High achieving students do worse on quizzes