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Cooperative Learning and Enhanced Communication: Effects on Student Performance, Retention, and Attitudes in General Chemistry

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Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306
Cite this: J. Chem. Educ. 1995, 72, 9, 793
Publication Date (Print):September 1, 1995
https://doi.org/10.1021/ed072p793
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Abstract

This report discusses the retention and performance of three sections of general chemistry that utilized different levels of cooperative learning and enhanced communication. The structured cooperative section (S-coop) required that students belonged to study groups, had group homework and group quizzes and had course credit driven electronic mail. The unstructured cooperative section (U-coop) encouraged students to form optional informal groups and provided for optional enhanced communication by paper mail. The control section used a standard lecture format without any cooperative learning or enhanced communication options. The student retention (C or better) was S-coop 85 %, U-coop 76 %, and Control 59 % (all differences were statistically significant). On the final exam the percent correct for common questions was S-coop 58%, U-coop 60%, and Control 55%. Adjusted for the difference in retention there was no significant difference between the two cooperative sections. The results of the Student Instructional Rating System for the three sections had the following percentage of students agreeing that the instructor was an effective teacher: S-coop 74%; U-coop 99%; and Control 80%. In all cases the differences were statistically significant. We conclude that a structured cooperative learning environment with enhanced communication can improve overall student retention and performance in general chemistry.

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  32. Sara J. Penhale. Cooperative Learning Using Chemical Literature. Science & Technology Libraries 1998, 16 (3-4) , 69-87. https://doi.org/10.1300/J122v16n03_05

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