WWC review of this study

Group Work is Not Cooperative Learning: An Evaluation of PowerTeaching in Middle Schools. A Report from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation

Rappaport, Shelley; Grossman, Jean; Garcia, Ivonne; Zhu, Pei; Avila, Osvaldo; Granito, Kelly (2017). MDRC. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED575643

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    26,808
     Students
    , grades
    6-8

Reviewed: April 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations
General Mathematics Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample: Grade 7;
26,808 students

-0.05

-0.05

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Black;
3,451 students

-0.25

-0.28

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Special education;
2,985 students

-0.82

-0.84

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Male;
13,696 students

-0.09

-0.08

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Female;
13,023 students

0.00

0.00

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Free or reduced price lunch;
19,458 students

-0.08

-0.09

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Not English Language Learners;
18,773 students

0.08

0.07

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Not Special education;
23,499 students

0.07

0.07

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Hispanic or Latino;
18,118 students

-0.19

-0.14

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

White;
2,917 students

0.39

0.46

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Not eligible for free or reduced price lunch;
4,880 students

0.20

0.30

No

--

State standardized math test

PowerTeaching vs. Business as usual

0 Days

English Language Learners;
4,036 students

-0.70

-0.63

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 18% English language learners

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Suburban, Urban
    • B
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    California, Illinois
  • Race
    Asian
    5%
    Black
    31%
    Other or unknown
    52%
    White
    12%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    51%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    49%

Setting

The study was implemented in general education mathematics classrooms in 58 middle schools across five school districts in Illinois and California. Nearly all of the schools were located in urban environments, such as large or mid-sized cities or towns. On average, 72% of students enrolled in schools in the study were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and 91% of the schools were designated Title I schools.

Study sample

Across the study schools an average of 72% of students were eligible for free/reduced price-lunch, an average of 12% where White non-Hispanic, 31% Black non-Hispanic, 5% Asian, and 52% other or race was not specified. Fifty-one percent identified as Hispanic and 49% were male. In the analysis sample, 18% of students were English learners and 11% received special education services.

Intervention Group

PowerTeaching (PTi3), developed by Success for All Foundation (SFAF), is a structured cooperative learning model that aims to improve teachers' ability to implement cooperative learning in their classroom instruction. SFAF defined cooperative learning to include three core elements: (1) team recogniton: students in heterogeneous skill groups work in teams to win recognition for the team based on the team's performance; (2) equal opportunities for all students: all students on the team contribute to goals and have a role in the team; and (3) interdependence: teams earn points based on quality of work performed by any randomly selected member of their team. In the study, SFAF provided training to school-level facilitators, who in turn trained the math teachers in the PTi3 schools. These trainings were provided over three implementation years. Teachers were expected to participate in continuous improvement meetings, specifically biweekly PTi3 professional development sessions (“component team meetings”) led by the facilitator. The meetings were intended to help teachers set PTi3-specific instructional goals, monitor teachers’ implementation of the program, discuss classroom challenges, and review student progress.

Comparison Group

The intervention was not implemented in control group schools. Teachers in the control group schools received the training and support they would usually receive in the absence of the study.

Support for implementation

No additional supports for implementation are described beyond those that are listed as part of the model. That is, teachers were expected to participate in biweekly PTi3 professional development sessions (“component team meetings”) led by a PTi3 facilitator.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Rappaport, S., Grossman, J., Garcia, I., Zhu, P., Avila, O., Granito, K., Chen, D., Kennedy, A., & Quinn, J. (2017). Group work is not cooperative learning: An in-depth look at the 2014-2015 academic year. A working paper from the Investing in Innovation (i3) evaluation. New York, NY: MDRC. https://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/SFA-Math_Working_Paper.pdf

 

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