Effects of cooperative learning on beginning algebra students in the small private liberal arts college

Kenneth Clai Rupnow, Marquette University


While much has been written extolling the virtues of cooperative learning, relatively little research about cooperative learning in mathematics has been aimed at the college level, and what research has been done has primarily utilized students in universities and community colleges. This study examines whether beginning algebra classes in small private liberal arts colleges, taught using cooperative and individualistic learning techniques, are significantly different in achievement, mathematical self-concept, and five different beliefs about mathematics. Four small private liberal arts colleges taught one section of beginning algebra using cooperative learning techniques, and another using individualized learning techniques. A randomized block design was employed with treatment as main effect and schools as blocks. The statistical unit was the class mean. ANOVAs were completed for each of the seven instruments. A statistically significant difference in achievement was found, with the cooperative sections outperforming the individualistic sections. No statistically significant differences were found between the two treatments in mathematical self-concept or any of the five beliefs about mathematics. The researcher concluded that more time should be spent exploring the cognitive benefits of cooperative learning at this level as opposed to its affective benefits. Studies should be conducted in other types of mathematics classes and over a longer period of time to see if similar improvements in achievement result from the use of cooperative learning techniques.

Recommended Citation

Rupnow, Kenneth Clai, "Effects of cooperative learning on beginning algebra students in the small private liberal arts college" (1996). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9719086.