The effects of cooperative learning on the spelling achievement of intermediate elementary students

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Peck, Greg L.
Quimby, Marjorie P.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of Elementary Education
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This study compared differences in spelling achievement among groups of students who were high, average, and low achievers. The study attempted to determine, over 7 weeks, any treatment effects resulting from students being cooperatively grouped for spelling instruction. A student's level of achievement and type of grouping for spelling instruction were variables contrasted between intact treatment and control classes of students.This study used six intact classes of intermediate grade elementary children. Three classes were grouped cooperatively for spelling instruction and three classes were not grouped cooperatively for spelling instruction. The study included the scores of 135 students, 68 in the control group and 67 in the treatment group. Normal curve equivalent scores from an existing standardized achievement test were used to classify students as high, average, or low achievers.A student's level of achievement was an attribute variable that yielded proportional cell sizes in order to conduct an analysis of variance. The dependent variable was the total number of words that each student spelled correctly on seven weekly spelling tests. A t-test was used to examine the NCE scores of the treatment and control groups to verify that no significant differences existed between the groups prior to the study.Teachers were trained in a series of four sessions to implement cooperative learning using Student Teams Achievement Divisions. The sessions provided activities designed to encourage the development of collaborative skills prior to initiating treatment. A bonus point system was used to reinforce the collaborative skills.The analysis of variance tested four null hypotheses at the .05 level of confidence. None of the null hypotheses were rejected. The following results were suggested:1. Intermediate children achieve equally well regardless of how they are grouped for spelling instruction.2. High, average, and low achieving students achieve equally well regardless of how they are grouped for spelling instruction.3. Low achieving students achieve significantly different from high and average achieving students.The findings of the study suggest that cooperative grouping for spelling instruction is as effective as spelling instruction without cooperative grouping regardless of student level of achievement.