ERIC Number: ED455288
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-May
Short Circuits or Superconductors? Examining Factors That Encourage or Undermine Group Learning and Collaboration among High-Ability Students. CSE Technical Report.
Webb, Noreen M.; Welner, Mari; Zuniga, Stephen
This study investigated the effects of group ability composition (homogeneous versus heterogeneous) on group processes and outcomes for high ability students completing science performance assessments. Participants were 99 seventh and eighth graders from 9 classes in 2 schools. The results show that group ability composition does not have straightforward effects on achievement. While high-ability students working in homogeneous groups uniformly performed well, high-ability students in some heterogeneous groups performed better than high-ability students in other heterogeneous groups. The quality of group functioning served as the strongest predictor of high-ability students' achievement. High-ability students in groups that were responsive to group members' needs for help and did not engage in debilitating social behavior performed well, whereas high-ability students in groups with poorer functioning did not. While homogeneous groups consistently showed beneficial group functioning, only some heterogeneous groups exhibited these traits. These results show that achievement of high-ability students cannot be predicted from a simple homogeneous-heterogeneous grouping contrast and that the level of group functioning provides the key to understanding group performance. An appendix contains sample test questions. (Contains 10 tables, 10 figures, and 63 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Ability, Group Instruction, Heterogeneous Grouping, High Achievement, Homogeneous Grouping, Junior High School Students, Junior High Schools, Performance Based Assessment, Performance Factors
National Center for Research on Evaluation, CRESST/CSE, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522. Tel: 310-206-1532.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA.; California Univ., Los Angeles. Center for the Study of Evaluation.