Grouping in a time of globalization: the effects of heterogeneous grouping and peer evaluations on the reciprocal teaching process in the secondary English classroom

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Crevoiserat, Peter Alan
Carroll, Jeri A.

This study reports the results of research done in three ninth grade English classrooms during a four week unit on Romeo and Juliet. The research focuses on the independent variables of ability grouping and evaluation modality as they have been found to be crucial to improving comprehension in English classrooms. The three classrooms were randomly assigned either the control condition or one of two experimental conditions. Each classroom received instruction using the Reciprocal Teaching Strategy. All 56 students were identified as either high or low level learners based on his or her most recent standardized reading test scores. The control classroom‟s student participants were placed in reading groups with students of similar ability and were evaluated daily by the instructor. The participants in the two experimental cohorts were placed in reading groups with a variety of learner levels. Additionally, one experimental classroom employed peer evaluations. The study found that high level learners had significantly higher gains on the classroom objective test when receiving peer evaluations combined with mixed ability groupings. This was in comparison to low ability level students under the same treatment and high ability level students receiving teacher evaluations in mixed ability groups. The fact that high ability students in mixed ability groups did not perform well when given teacher evaluations seems to imply that peer evaluations are best suited for high level students in mixed ability cooperative groups.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction