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ERIC Number: EJ1039510
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0020-4277
Individual versus Collaborative Problem Solving: Divergent Outcomes Depending on Task Complexity
Sears, David A.; Reagin, James Michael
Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, v41 n6 p1153-1172 Nov 2013
Many studies have tested external supports for promoting productive collaboration, but relatively few have examined what features characterize naturally productive collaborative tasks. Two lines of research have come to distinct conclusions on the primary task feature associated with productive collaboration: demonstrability versus complexity. This study examined the problem-solving performance of 110 seventh grade students on a demonstrable mathematical task, including 69 in three traditional math classrooms (for whom the task was complex) and 41 in two accelerated math classrooms (for whom the task was not complex). Students were further assigned to one of four conditions split by two factors: grouping (individual versus dyad) and number of problems (one or two). For the accelerated math classes, individuals performed significantly better than dyads. For the traditional math classes, dyads performed significantly better than individuals and exceeded the truth-wins criterion (a theoretical maximum indicating how individuals would perform if they shared knowledge perfectly). A complex-demonstrable task framework is proposed for characterizing naturally productive collaborative tasks.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A