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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Improving the Effectiveness of Pupil Groups in Classrooms

Grant reference: L139251046

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Journal article details

TLRP: Promoting group work at key stage 3: solving an attitudinal crisis among young adolescents?
The attitudes and behaviour of 1040 pupils aged 12-14 years have been measured at the beginning and end of the school year with a battery of attitude, motivation and personality tests in an investigation of the differential effects of group work compared to whole-class learning. A total of 44 secondary teachers of English, mathematics and science and their classes have been studied over a two-year period. While subject attitudes and motivation scores fell significantly during the year, attitudes to group working held steady. Extraversion has been found to have a significant association with a positive approach to group work in English and mathematics. Cluster analysis has been used to identify four broad types of pupils who respond to group work in characteristically different manners. Two of the types show contrasting personality profiles, but display the least positive attitudes to school and classroom work. In 13 of 40 classes, these rather negative pupils made up at least half the class. There is evidence from English that group work in an appropriate task can arrest attainment decline for these pupils. It is argued that a shift from achievement to mastery motivation in schools with a role for cooperative group working could deliver a more effective education for disaffected youth.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author T Pell

Additional details