Collaborative Learning:A case study of the efficacy of a Peer Tutoring Programme
By Chong-Ng Swee Kuan
Introduction A mixed-method approach was undertaken to determine how Year 6 students who volunteered to be peer tutors and their respective peer tutees perceived the variables that determined the efficacy of the Economics peer tutoring programme.
Both peer tutors and tutees completed survey questionaires that served to capture information of theirperformance for internal school examinations perceptions on attributes of a successful tutor ratings on specific features of the programme ratings on the reasons why peer tutees were weak in the subject the tutors perceptions of self-efficacy as a tutor
Qualitative findings 5 successful peer tutors whose tutees showed the highest effect size were identified to participate in a guided focus group interview. This examined how the learning strategies used by successful tutors helped both peer tutors and their peer tutees remained on task, the contributing factors to a high level of engagement in learning for the successful peer tutors and their peer tutees and the self-efficacy beliefs of the peer tutors.
Literature Review As early as 1984, Blooms article on The 2 Sigma Problem: The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-to-one tutoring.
This study reported how tutorial instruction based on one-to-one tutoring compared to conventional and mastery learning.
Observable outcomes:students who learned the subject matter with a good tutor for each student (or for two or three students simultaneously) produced effect sizes of the order of 2 standard deviations above the control group who received conventional instruction in a class with 30 students per teacher.
Those who were taught using Mastery Learning performed at one deviation above the control group (Bloom, 1984, p. 4).
One measure of peer tutoring effect Effect Size (ES) was defined as the difference between the means of two groups divided by the standard deviation of the control group (Glass, 1976 in Cohen et al., 1982, p. 240).
Effects of instructional program A Swing and Peterson study (1982) showed that with just two sessions of instructional program for both fifth grade peer tutors and peer tutees (for Maths), there were increased frequency in exchanges of explanations (between peer tutors and tutees) and they also performed more checks on each other than the control groups.
Effects of interactive mediated rehearsal routine Another research study by Fuchs, Fuchs, Bentz, Phillips & Hamlett (1994) showed how an interactive, mediated verbal rehearsal routine had positive effect resulting in enhanced interactions between tutors and tutees. In this case, the peer-tutors in the experimental group were taught the routine to ask a series of questions that tutee could learn and use to guide himself or herself to the problems solution (Fuchs et al., 1994, p. 81).
Effects of peer tutors ability on the quality of explanationsFuchs, Fuchs, Karns, Hamlett, Dutka and Katzaroff (1996) examined the quality and effectiveness of peer tutors explanations by analysing how Higher Achievement peer tutors and Average Achievement peer tutors differed.
High Achievement peer tutors were more likely to rephrase problems with explanations that bridge procedural to conceptual explanation.
Is there a role for an interactive mediated rehearsal routine to improve the efficacy of peer tutors? The guided focus group interview also seek to confirm if successful tutors have identified a routine for checking how well their tutees have learnt new content matter.
Zone of proximity developmentVygotsky defined the zone of proximity development as the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers (Goldstein, 2000, p. 649).
Scenario 1 Teacher successfully request students to elaborate on their ideas, redirect discussion and rework the students contributions so that they are integrated into the discussion.Scenario 2 The able peer tutor emulates the above process and helps the tutee moves towards his potential development by providing collaboration as a more capable peer.
Scaffolding Pata et al., (2006) investigated the effect of scaffolding. Helpful scaffolding provides support and external structure just sufficient enough to enable students productive participation. Content scaffolding hinting, prompting, summarizing. Process scaffolding tutors/students instructions and tutors feedback
How peer tutors learn from their effortRoscoe and Chi (2007) identified six studies that combined peer tutor learning data and process data. All six of them were for same-age, fixed-role peer tutors ranging from elementary schools all the way to undergraduate peer tutoring (Roscoe & Chi, 2007, p. 543). All six studies showed that effective peer tutoring could be traced to effective use of explaining, questioning, assessment and feedback.
The peer tutor needs to comprehend and synthesize the material in order to generate accurate explanation.The higher the level of preparation, the more peer tutors will recognize any possible knowledge gaps and misconceptions the peer tutee has.
In programmes where keeping a journal or log has been mandatory, the peer tutors have gained from keeping a record of explanations generated for self and for peer tutee. A possible scaffolding dialogue for peer tutor to guide a discussion. sequential procedure tutor asks a question, tutee answers the question, tutor gives feedback, tutor and tutee elaborate upon the tutees answer, followed by tutors evaluation of the revised answer.
Self-efficacy beliefs of peer tutorsAttribution theory emphasised the inter-personal context between peer tutor and a peer tutee such that the successful peer tutor is then a significant other. Peer tutors self-regulation and self-management becomes a positive influence on the peer tutee. Gundlach, et al. 2003
Tutors high in self efficacy would generate and test alternative courses of action when they do not meet with initial success. The concept of self-efficacy is the peer tutors notion of his/her belief in his/her capacity to achieve a desired outcome.
A successful peer tutor achievessubstantive connectivensss by getting the core subject matter across to the tutee interpersonal connectiveness by influencing the tutee relationally as a good role model instructional connectiveness by choosing the appropriate instruction for the learning need
Participants and SettingAfter Block Test 1 peer tutoring programme was implemented to help weaker students. Peer tutors were students who had done well for BT1 and had volunteered their time for the role as peer tutors on a weekly basis.A ten week period from mid March to end of May 2009Criterion for this studyAt least 50% attendance over the period Valid survey responses: 9 peer tutors and their 9 peer tutees
Determining the experimental-controlThe experimental control is another student in the same class as the peer tutee who scored the same raw score at Block Test 1.If this is a non-occurrence, then the search would be extended to another class taught by the same economics tutor. (Hence subject tutor would remain a constant)
Measurement of effect size for peer tutee Effect Size of each peer tutee = Score of peer tutee for Block Test 2 Score of experimental-control for Block Test 2
Measurement of Effect Size for peer tutoring programme Effect Size for the peer tutoring programme = (mean score for peer tutees at Block Test 2 Mean score for experimental control group for Block Test 2) / standard deviation of experimental control group at Block Test 1
Effect size for top 9 tutees in this case studyEffect size of the peer programme based on top 9 tutees=1.22 standard deviation
Effect size for top 5 tutees in this case studyEffect size of the peer tutoring programme based on top 5 tutees =2.49 standard deviation
Tutee & Expt-control(BT1)Tutee
(BT2)Expt Control (BT2)For n= 5
Standard Deviation= 4.9Mean =52Mean =51Mean= 39.6
Quantitative Method using survey questionaires to collect data
Research Qn 1
What are the attributes of a successful peer tutor as perceived by a) peer tutors? b) peer tutees?
i) A successful peer tutors builds on what a tutee has learnt/done in the previous session __________ None Some Most All the timePeer tutors - 33.3% 33.3% 33.3%Peer tutees 11.1% 33.3% 55.6% -
ii) A successful peer tutor is able to explain the relevant concepts clearly ________Peer tutors - 11.1% 44.4% 44.4%Peer tutees - 11.1% 77.8% 11.1%
None Some Most All the time
iii) When a tutee appears to be struggling over a problem in the assignment, a successful peer tutor prompts his/her tutee _______Peer tutors - 44.4% 33.3% 22.2%Peer tutees 11.1% 22.2% 55.6% 11.1%None Some Most All the