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ERIC Number: EJ851877
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 48
ISSN: ISSN-1094-3277
Peer-Led Team Learning: A Prospective Method for Increasing Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Science Courses
Quitadamo, Ian J.; Brahler, C. Jayne; Crouch, Gregory J.
Science Educator, v18 n1 p29-39 Spr 2009
Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a specific form of small group learning recognized by Project Kaleidoscope as best practice pedagogy (Varma-Nelson, 2004). PLTL was first developed by Woodward, Gosser, and Weiner (1993) as an integrated method that promoted discourse and creative problem solving in chemistry at the City College of New York. It is characterized by a cohort-based social learning structure whereby trained undergraduates, or "peer leaders", guide 4-8 less experienced peers toward conceptual understanding through group-focused science and math problem solving. This study examines the impact of PLTL on critical thinking gains in science and math courses at a research university in the Pacific Northwest. Results of this study show that PLTL has a small but positive impact on critical thinking gains in some science courses, and that it improves grade performance and retention in science and math courses, particularly for females. While math students did not show significant critical thinking gains, it is premature to conclude that PLTL does not promote critical thinking in math. Many factors affect the development of critical thinking skills, and more study is necessary to discover their influence. These results indicate PLTL has potential to improve undergraduate critical thinking. (Contains 2 figures and 3 tables.)
National Science Education Leadership Association. P.O. Box 99381, Raleigh, NC 27624-9381. Tel: 919-848-8171; Fax: 919-848-0496; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A