Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD) in a twelfth grade classroom: Effect on student achievement and attitude

Abstract Little research has been conducted on cooperative learning techniques used in the upper secondary school classroom. One cooperative technique, Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD), was used to determine if twelfth grade advanced placement students who were given instruction by the STAD method over a seven week period would score higher on a posttest than those students who were taught the same material by traditional methods. Quantitative results showed no significant difference between the adjusted means for the two groups. Additionally, a measure of student attitude was administered to determine if students taught through the STAD technique had an improved attitude toward social studies. No significant difference between the group means on attitude occurred. Yet, teacher and student surveys administered to the treatment group at the conclusion of the study indicated a liking for the STAD method of instruction. STAD was found to be easily adapted to the block scheduled secondary social studies class. Previous Research Over the last thirty years a great deal of research has been done on cooperative learning in the classroom. An examination of the literature on cooperative learning strategies supports the usefulness of these strategies to improve student performance for almost any desired educational outcome. For example, research has shown that well structured cooperative learning techniques in the classroom improve academic achievement, race relations, gender relations, self esteem, liking of class and student attendance (Johnson & Johnson,1987; Newman & Thompson,1987; Sharan,1980; Slaving 1980, 1982, 1990, 1995; Stahl & VanSicle, 1992). According to Slavin (1982),students seem to enjoy classrooms that employ these techniques. According to Newman and Thompson (1987) and Slavin (1995), most of the research on cooperative learning has taken place at the elementary level, even though cooperative learning techniques were developed initially for college and adult education (Palmer & Johnson, 1989). Few studies have been conducted at the secondary level and even less research has been initiated in the upper secondary social studies class. Therefore, there is a need to study cooperative learning strategies in the upper secondary classroom.

The teacher (a) assigns the students to teams. .1986). Slavin found that few studies examined the effects of STAD on the 7-12 grade levels. Team members are instructed that their task is not complete until all team members understand the assigned material. (c) gives the students a regular quiz. Generally. (f) peer relationships and. learning had increased significantly over traditional methods. 1986). 1986. Slavin (1986) reviewed eight studies that evaluated STAD. Team members then collaborate on worksheets designed to expand and reinforce the material taught by the teacher. In six of the eight studies. (b) take turns quizzing each other. The use of improvement points has been shown to increase student academic performance even without teams (Slaving. (c) peer support. He reported that STAD consistently had positive effects on learning. Following this team practice.1986). In the two remaining studies there was not significant effect. Teammates are not permitted to help one another on these quizzes. 1995). (c) discuss problems as a group. class discussion. Newman and Thompson (1987) reported that STAD was the most successful cooperative learning technique at increasing student academic achievement. the teacher introduces new material through a lecture. Team scores are recorded and weekly recognition and rewards are awarded to winning teams and improving students (Slavin. STAD has been described as the simplest of a group of cooperative learning techniques referred to as Student Team Learning Methods. In the STAD approach students are assigned to four or five member teams reflecting a heterogeneous grouping of high. The quizzes are graded by the teacher and individual scores are then calculated into team scores by the teacher. and low achieving students of diverse ethnic backgrounds and different genders. Team members may (a) work on the worksheets in pairs. Each team will then receive answer sheets. (e) time on task. or some form of a teacher presentation. then that student will contribute positively to the team score. students take individual quizzes on the assigned material.The cooperative learning techniques used in this study was the Student Achievement Divisions' (STAD) method developed by Robert Slavin (1986). One of the attractive features of STAD is that it is relatively easy for teachers to use. or (d) use whatever strategies they which to learn the assigned material. (d) locus of control. This scoring methods offer rewards for students’ improvement (Slavin. (b) attitude toward school and class. making clear to the students that their task is to learn the concepts not simply fill out the worksheets. (g) cooperation. However. and it is an important component of student team learning (Slavin. Slavin ( 1995) reported on 29 studies that examined the effectiveness of STAD. Each week. average. but the bulk of the research on STAD had been conducted at the elementary level and in subject areas other than social studies. If the student's quiz score is higher than the base score. STAD positively affected (c) cross race relations. and(d) calculates improvement and team scores. The amount each student contributes to the team score is related to a comparison between the student's prior average and base score. (b) allows the teams time to study together. These studies had all been administered below the tenth grade level.

a veteran with several years of teaching experience. The treatment group contained 17 students while the comparison group contained 30 students. and race. The teacher delivered the treatment groups' instruction in the course through the STAD technique. The teacher was trained on implementation of the STAD technique prior to the study. The students ere assigned to groups in such a manner as to reflect a heterogeneous mixture of academic ability. Following the pretest. The following research questions were proposed: 1. The pretest scores as well as previous social studies grades for both groups were analyzed to ensure academic equality between the treatment and comparison groups. Procedure Sample The sample consisted of a convenient sampling of 47 students in two twelfth grade advanced placement American Government classes located in a suburban setting in South Mississippi. Will upper secondary social studies students who are given instruction by the STAD cooperative learning technique score higher on a posttest than students taught the same material by traditional methods? H: There will be a significant difference between treatment (STAD) and comparison groups (traditional) on the criterion variable of academic achievement while holding pretest academic achievement constant. . the seventeen students in the treatment group were divided into groups of four or five members. using teacher presentation. Pretest scores were used to provide baseline data with which to compare posttest scores to determine if the STAD cooperative learning techniques were effective in improving achievement. Treatment Both treatment and comparison groups were taught by the same classroom teacher. Both groups were predominantly white with a good mix of male and female students. These treatment groups were trained in cooperative group skills prior to the seven-week treatment period. and team reward format. 2.The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of STAD upon academic achievement and student attitude towards social studies of upper level secondary social studies students. After treatment and comparison groups were assigned. the students in both groups were pre tested on their knowledge of course content to be covered during the seven-week study period. during the fall of 1997. Will upper secondary social studies students who are given instruction by the STAD cooperative learning technique demonstrate a better attitude towards social studies class? H: There will be a significant difference between the treatment (STAD) and comparison groups (traditional) on the criterion variable of student attitude towards their social studies class. individual quiz. team practice. gender. The teacher had been the recipient of numerous teaching awards for excellence.

student and teacher surveys were completed to gather qualitative data based on the study.76 to . In addition. Both treatment and comparison groups received instruction for ninety-six minute class periods occurring on alternate school days throughout the seven-week period. Results An analysis of covariance and analysis of variance procedures were used to analyze the data. Lesson plans for both groups were developed by the teacher and investigators.The comparison group was instructed through more traditional methods such as lecture. Estes & Richards." The Estes Attitude Scale had a reported consistency and reliablility with coefficients ranging from . The same instrument was used as a posttest with additional short answer and essay questions. class discussion and individual practice. 1985). . All test items were selected from the test bank which accompanied the textbook used for the unit of study and were criterion referenced to the school district's curriculum. At the end of the seventh week of treatment. The specific hypotheses addressed in this study were: 1) There will be a significant difference between treatment (STAD) and comparison groups (traditional) on the criterion variable of academic achievement while holding pretest academic achievement constant. Instruments A teacher made 30 items of multiple choices for pretest which was administered to both groups on the same day prior to the beginning of the treatment period.93. The achievement test was validated by two experts (other teachers) who had nothing to do with the study. 2) There will be a significant difference between the treatment (STAD) and comparison groups (traditional) on the criterion variable of student attitude towards their social studies class. The instrument contained seventy-five questions evaluating student attitude toward five subject areas. Each group received instruction on the same course content over the identical amount of instructional time. The results indicated both convergent and discriminative validity of individual interests were met (Estes. Students in both groups were also administered an attitudinal instrument to measure their attitude towards social studies class. posttest means for the two groups were compared to determine whether the students taught by the STAD cooperative learning technique would score significantly higher than students taught by traditional methods. The Estes Attitudinal Scale was administered to measure student attitude toward the class. The construct validity was examined by assessing extrinsic measures and intrinsic measures. This instrument used a five point Likert scale ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree.

The teacher felt that.44)=. They commented that." and "made it easier to understand the work. Students commented that using STAD in the social studies classroom made learning fun and the content easier to understand. Critics tend to claim that high achieving or grade conscious students often outperform their groups.45)=. teacher comments and results of student surveys seem to differ from these findings. it reveals that students of higher ability are not adversely affected by working in heterogeneous groups as some parents and teachers contend. Assuming that these observation were true then the application of STAD in the classroom had positive effects which the statistical techniques used to measure the effects of this study did not detect. When treatment students were asked if they would prefer to use STAD to cover the next unit of study. Qualitative instruments in the form of student and teacher surveys were also administered to provide further insight into the dynamics of the study. She related that the STAD technique was easy to implement and administer and was particularly suited for a block schedule timetable (fewer classes with larger amounts of time during the day).029. The results of this study help allay this . from her observations. with different ability levels and in other secondary grade levels.865)[see table 3].122. II=.Contrary to the first hypothesis. Discussion The previous discussion of the results of the data analysis supports the conclusion that the use of STAD in the upper secondary social studies classroom had no statistically significant effect on the academic achievement and attitude towards social studies class.728) [see table 1]. The teacher commented that the technique was an excellent presentation method for delivering course content and for encouraging students to work towards shared goals. Both treatment and comparison groups improved approximately ten points on the posttest (see table 2). "made class more fun. while other group members contribute less to learning while benefiting from others effort and knowledge. this study produced no significant difference between the achievement level of those taught by traditional methods and those instructed by the STAD technique LF(1. the treatment students were enjoying class more than the comparison group and were taking a more active role in the class.p=. "team work made studying easier. The teacher survey produced similar positive results. When treatment students were asked if they enjoyed working in groups during the study 94% answered positively. However. 88% responded positively state that the technique. and discussing work with peers made it easier to remember important points" Seventy six percent reported that working in groups helped them learn course content and 71% reported that the team competition component of the technique made class more interesting. In addition. These findings are important because it demonstrates that STAD can be as effective a teaching strategy for upper secondary social studies students as delivering course instruction by traditional methods. She found few weaknesses in the technique and felt that it would be successful in other courses. This may mean that taught by the STAD technique and those taught by traditional methods E(1.

and evaluate students work during the same blocked class period. R.misconception.H. Observation of the class revealed a high level of motivation by the students to complete the tasks and be prepared for the quiz at the end of class. NJ: PrenticeHall. Even though cooperative small group learning is tone of the most researched teaching strategies being used in schools today. effective social skills. D. Johnson. R. Johnson. .. The teacher commented that the STAD method used was a very effective strategy for the block scheduled class. individual accountability. WI: Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Learning Together and Alone: Cooperation. (1987). much more research must be done to determine its effectiveness in the upper grades. (1987). T. University of Virginia.W. 1992) that well structured cooperative learning techniques which contain the five basic elements of effective cooperative learning (i. JJ. Edina. in this study both the treatment and comparison group's classes were scheduled for 96 minute blocks of instruction which took place on alternate days.C. & Thompson. Charlotteville. & Richards.T. Stahl & Van Sickle. This study supports the research (Newman & Thompson. have students work in groups. References Estes. F. positive interdependence. The teacher was able to deliver a presentation in the form of a lecture of class discussion. & Johnson.W. Competition and Individualism.e. further research is needed to substantiate these findings. 1995. Englewood Cliffs. Estes. For example. and reflective group process) can ensure that all group members participate in the learning process actively. & Johnson. Effects of Cooperadv in nA hi vementin Secondary Schools: A Summary of Research. face to face interaction. J. 1987. In a block schedule students take fewer classes in a semester but for longer periods of instruction. (1989). Virginia). Second edition. Estes attitude scales: To measure attitude toward school subjects the secondary form.T. Cooperation and competition: Theorv and Research. Future studies should involve a larger number of subjects selected from a more diverse pool of students in a wider range of courses. Madison. (available from Thomas H. however. D.M. Newman. Slaving. The fact that his study focused on advanced progress American Government students proved that cooperative learning could be an effective teaching technique at this advanced level. H. review their work. It is also important to note that STAD is easily adapted to the block scheduled secondary social studies class... (1975). MN: Interaction Books. Estes. One of the major drawbacks of the study was the relatively small sample size and narrow focus.

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