Jewett, Andrea L. “Effects of Cross-Age Reciprocal Peer Tutoring on Math Fact Acquisition with Learning Disabled Students.” 1998, Graduate School of The Ohio State University.
While school district funding is on the decline, classroom sizes are getting larger with an increasing number of special needs students being integrated into the mainstream classroom setting. The demands on teacher attention is increasing as well even for those who have classroom aides or teaching assistants. Peer tutoring is being examined as one way to solve the difficulties which elementary school special needs children are having with memorizing basic Math facts in a proficient manner. There is a need for individualized instruction and peer tutoring’s 1:1 model is excellent in this case.
This research study was conducted to find out the effectiveness of cross-age reciprocal peer tutoring among special needs students. The study was conducted by Andrea Jewett, a graduate student at The Ohio State University working to obtain a Master of Arts degree and certification in Specific Learning Disabilities. The following questions were posed:
- What is the effect of reciprocal peer tutoring on the acquisition of basic Math facts (sums less than 20)?
- Will reciprocal peer tutoring increase the number of opportunities to respond?
- What is the effect of peer tutoring on the teacher’s to implementation and use of a peer tutoring system in the resource room setting?
- What will student response be to working with classmates to learn basic Math facts?
The study was conducted in a suburban public elementary school in Ohio where eight elementary students attending an intermediate level learning disabilities resource room participated. The students, six males and two females ranged in age from 9.3 to 11.6 years and were all mainstreamed in some of their courses including Math.
Prior to the tutoring sessions, the students were given a 15 minute pretest to evaluate their current Math fact strengths and deficiencies. Then they were paired with peer tutoring partners in a random manner with each partner having an opportunity to participate as a tutor and tutee. A peer tutoring session lasted for 5 minutes after which the students switched roles and participated in another 5 minute session. In the second session, the student who acted as a tutor in the first session took on the role of tutee and vice versa. At the end of a tutoring period, the students took tests given by the teacher to evaluate their progress. In addition to the daily tests, weekly review tests were also given to ensure the retention of the Math facts learned. Also, checks of reliability were taken each day by impartial observers who were trained to score a permanent product.
All the students that participated in this study underwent peer tutoring training sessions that focused on the areas of: prompting and praise responses; obtaining and returning materials; charting progress and intermittent praise.
Two independent observers recorded scores for all tests during the peer tutoring program. Data was gathered to verify students’ rate and accuracy on addition and subtraction Math fact time tests, students’ number of response opportunities during peer tutoring and social validity in terms of consumer satisfaction.
The results of the experiment showed that all students made gains during the peer tutoring sessions, indicating that reciprocal peer tutoring had a positive effect on students’ acquisition of basic Math facts. Teacher and student feedback also indicated a positive feeling for the use of a peer tutoring program. Both indicated that they would like to use the program again in the future.
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