WWC review of this study

The cooperative elementary school: Effects on students’ achievement, attitudes, and social relations.

Stevens, R. J., & Slavin, R. E. (1995). American Educational Research Journal, 32(2), 321-351. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ511004

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    873
     Students
    , grades
    2-6
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: September 2016

English language arts achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading vocabulary

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Special education students;
76 students

-1.02

-1.38

No

 
 
18
More Outcomes

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language expression

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Special education students;
76 students

-1.19

-1.45

No

 
 
13

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading comprehension

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Special education students;
76 students

-1.21

-1.4

No

 
 
10

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading vocabulary

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
873 students

0.08

-0.09

No

 
 
7

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading comprehension

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
873 students

0.08

-0.05

No

 
 
5

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language mechanics

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Special education students;
76 students

-1.16

-1.25

No

 
 
4

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language expression

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
873 students

0.04

-0.04

No

 
 
3

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language mechanics

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
873 students

-0.01

-0.02

No

 
 
1
Show Supplemental Findings

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language mechanics

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Special education students;
76 students

0.99

-1.21

Yes

 
 
49

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language expression

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Special education students;
76 students

-0.97

-1.55

Yes

 
 
24

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading comprehension

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Special education students;
76 students

-1

-1.53

Yes

 
 
24

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading vocabulary

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Special education students;
76 students

-0.98

-1.48

Yes

 
 
24

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language expression

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
873 students

0.1

-0.09

Yes

 
 
8

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading vocabulary

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
873 students

0.1

-0.11

Yes

 
 
8

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language mechanics

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
873 students

0.03

-0.02

No

 
 
2

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading comprehension

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
873 teachers

-0.07

-0.13

No

 
 
2
Mathematics achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics computation

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Special education students;
76 students

-0.45

-0.71

No

 
 
14
More Outcomes

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics application

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Special education students;
76 students

-0.71

-0.83

No

 
 
7

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics computation

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
873 students

0.06

-0.01

No

 
 
3

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics application

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample;
873 students

-0.02

0.03

No

-2
 
 
Show Supplemental Findings

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics computation

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Special education students;
76 students

-0.1

-0.54

Yes

 
 
23

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics application

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Special education students;
76 students

-0.28

-0.53

No

 
 
15

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics computation

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
873 students

0.15

-0.14

Yes

 
 
11

California Achievement Test (CAT): Mathematics application

Cooperative Elementary School model vs. Business as usual

2 Years

Full sample;
873 students

0.04

-0.06

No

 
 
4

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Suburban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
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    • J
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    • V
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    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
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    Maryland

Setting

The school district was a suburban school district in Maryland. There were five of the schools in the district that participated in this study resulting in 45 classrooms containing 1012 students. The students represented the 2nd through the 6th grades. The student populations of each school ranged from 4% to 15% minority students (mean = 7.3%), and from 2% to 20% disadvantaged students (mean = 10.2%). The schools were all located in predominately working-class neighborhoods. Approximately 9.3% of the five schools' student populations were identified as learning disabled, ranging from 7% to 12% in each school.

Study sample

Other than analysis on the special education subsample (40 intervention, and 36 comparison students), the authors do not report sample characteristics by condition, however they do report ranges. Schools ranged between 4%-15% (M = 7.3%) minority, 2%-20% (M = 10.2%) free/reduced price lunch, and 7%-12% learning disabled.

Intervention Group

The cooperative elementary school intervention had 6 elements: 1) widespread use of cooperative learning in the classroom, 2) mainstreaming learning disabled students, 3) teacher peer coaching, 4) teacher collaboration in instructional planning, 5) teacher and principal collaboration on school planning and decision making, and 6) teacher and principal encouragement of active involvement of parents. By March of the first year, all of the curricular elements were in place. Teachers were trained on using cooperative learning with particular focus on Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (CIRC) and Team Assisted Individualization-Mathematics (TAI). Both of these methods use heterogeneous learning teams. Teachers were also trained in Jigsaw II, Teams-Games-Tournaments (TGT), and Student Teams Achievement Division (STAD). Teachers were given a explanation of the processes and rationale behind each program as well as a detailed manual on how to use the program. Training began in August with additional training taking place every 2 months. The first training focused on CIRC. Learning disabled students received all instruction in the regular classroom though during reading and/or math the special education teacher would team teach with the regular classroom teacher using CIRC or TAI. Often the classroom teacher provided the initial instruction and then the special education teacher provided follow-up and extension. Only about 60% of classes had implemented mainstreaming in the first year. Teachers were given opportunities to visit other teachers' classes, and provide support and feedback. Once teachers successfully implemented cooperative learning in their classrooms, they served as peer coaches for teachers who were less experienced in cooperative learning. Principals often offered to teach classes for coaches so that they can observe other classrooms. Teachers were given time for common planning in grade-level meetings. This allowed teachers to collaborate on using strategies, instructional content, and activities to implement the intervention. A building steering committee (made up of the principal, representatives from each grade level, special services, and other faculty members that met twice a month) was also created to develop collaboration between administration and teachers. Schools encouraged parent involvement by keeping parents informed about the intervention and its aims (including school expectations of parental involvement) through PTA meetings, the school newsletter, and teacher-parent conferences; and encouraging parents to monitor students' educational progress.

Comparison Group

Comparison schools continued using their standard methods and curriculum. While group work was used in these classes, it was not used as regularly and was not as structured as what was used in the intervention classrooms. The comparison schools also did not integrate the other elements of the intervention but they did have a school improvement team of administrators and faculty that met two times a semester. In reading, they used a basal series with workbooks, worksheets, and teacher-prepared materials as well as two or three novels. Teachers used ability-based reading groups. In language arts, teachers typically used whole-class instruction and a published language arts series as well as teacher-prepared materials and activities. In mathematics, teachers used a districtwide mathematics text and typically used whole-class instruction with follow-up activities.

Support for implementation

Teachers in the intervention condition were given training, materials, follow-up, and assistance to use the Johns Hopkins cooperative learning models including TAI, CIRC, TGT, Jigsaw II, and STAD. Teachers were given a explanation of the processes and rationale behind each program as well as a detailed manual on how to use the program. After training, researchers observed teachers in their classrooms and gave teachers feedback on implementation. Teacher coaches also gave peers feedback on their implementation.

Reviewed: June 2012

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: August 2010

Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading Comprehension subtest

Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® (CIRC®) vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grades 2-6;
873 students

0.15

-0.13

Yes

 
 
11
More Outcomes

California Achievement Test (CAT): Reading Vocabulary subtest

Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® (CIRC®) vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grades 2-6;
873 students

0.1

-0.11

Yes

 
 
8
Literacy achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language Expression

Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® (CIRC®) vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grades 2-6;
873 students

0.11

-0.1

Yes

 
 
8
More Outcomes

California Achievement Test (CAT): Language Mechanics

Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® (CIRC®) vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Grades 2-6;
873 students

0.05

-0.05

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Suburban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Maryland

Setting

The study was conducted in five schools in one suburban school district in Maryland. The student populations of each school ranged from 4% to 15% minority students, and from 2% to 20% students received free or reduced-price lunch.

Study sample

This study is a quasi-experiment conducted in five schools. Two treatment schools were selected by the investigators to implement the intervention, and three schools, matched on academic achievement, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background, were selected to serve as comparison schools. Classes in grades 2 through 6 in the treatment schools were matched with classes in the comparison schools based on pretest scores on the California Achievement Test (Reading, Language Arts, and Mathematics). The study’s analytic sample included 411 students in 21 treatment classrooms and 462 students in 24 comparison classrooms. The study reported students’ outcomes after two years of program implementation; these findings were used in the intervention ratings and can be found in Appendices A3.1 and A3.2. Additional findings reflecting students’ outcomes after one year of program implementation can be found in Appendices A4.1 and A4.2

Intervention Group

Intervention schools implemented the Cooperative Elementary School model, a whole-school reform model that uses cooperative learning strategies across multiple content areas. Teachers used peer coaching and conducted their planning in a cooperative manner. Cooperative Elementary School emphasizes teacher involvement in site-based management and parent involvement in schools. The language arts/reading curriculum within Cooperative Elementary School is Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition®. Daily lessons, which focus on story-related activities, direct instruction in reading comprehension, and integrated reading and language arts activities, incorporate team practice, peer assessment, and team/partner recognition. This program was phased in gradually during the first year of the two-year implementation.

Comparison Group

Reading activities consisted of students working in small reading groups using a basal series, workbooks, worksheets, and activities based on teacher-prepared materials. Language arts activities generally involved whole-class instruction using a published language arts series, as well as teacher-developed activities. Comparison schools did not use structured cooperative learning during classroom instruction, although occasional cooperative activities were used by some of the teachers. Comparison schools implemented some of the components of the Cooperative Elementary School model, but they did not implement Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition®.

Outcome descriptions

For both the pretest and the posttest, students took the Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Language Expression, and Language Mechanics subtests of the California Achievement Test. Scores were converted to z-scores in order to conduct analyses across the grades included in the study sample (grades 2–6). For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1 and A2.2.

Support for implementation

Intervention teachers were trained in Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® prior to implementation. Subsequent trainings were conducted at two-month intervals during the school year. Trainers reviewed with treatment teachers a detailed manual that explains how to implement the program in the classroom. Trainers also provided simulated demonstrations of lessons. In addition, during the school year, members of the research staff observed treatment-group classes, participated in meetings with treatment-group teachers, and observed steering committee meetings in order to facilitate implementation of the program components.

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.

  • Stevens, R. J., & Slavin, R. E. (1992). The Cooperative Elementary School: Effects on students’ achievement, attitudes, and social relations. Baltimore, MD: Center for Research on Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged Students.

Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: September 2008

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 10% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Suburban
 

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