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Impacts of Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures on Fifth-Graders' Mathematical Achievement

Dr. Lisa Cline

To cite this article: Cline, L. Impacts of Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures on Fifth-Graders' Mathematical Achievement. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Fall 2007. www.KaganOnline.com

When I first sat down to write this article it was 7 pages long and read much like Mrs. Donovan, Charlie Brown's teacher……whah whah whah…boring! I was having a lot of difficulty writing in my own words since after my dissertation all I was used to was quoting or citing someone else. I did not want my article to come across as boring, I wanted it to be exciting, fun to read, and able to convey the passion I have for Kagan Cooperative Learning and its impact on student achievement. So, I sat back down and decided to write it from my heart instead of my APA guide. Here it is……

About 5 years ago I attended my first Kagan Cooperative Learning conference. To be very honest, I was not "hooked" at first. I thought perhaps this was just another fad and I thought, "Is it really possible that the kids will get it and not go "crazy" running around in my room? Over the next year I team taught with another teacher that had attended the conference with me in an ESE classroom and after implementing the Kagan Structures we saw children make a year to two years growth in one school year! I was sold! I then attended the school trainer workshop followed by the Dynamic Trainer, District Trainer, Win Win Discipline, and am currently attending the 2007 Summer Institute on the Boosting Test Scores: 15 Thinking Skills Model. I can't wait! As you can tell, cooperative learning is my passion and I want to pass that on to everyone I train and share my experiences with. That is why it took little to no thought to decide on my topic for my dissertation. It was amazing how much research, background, and underlying theories I found on cooperative learning. I would be happy to share this if you want, but for now I want to share the success!

My school suffered from decreasing test scores in mathematics, specifically in 5th grade. When I was asked to teach 5th grade, I was excited. When I heard about the test scores, I was scared and my first thought was..Kagan! I trained teachers in Kagan Structures and really wanted it to be a whole school philosophy. I felt this would trickle down to the students and year by year we would see a positive change. I can tell you we did, except in 5th grade math. Therefore, I made it my goal and set off to hit my target. Through my dissertation: Impacts of Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures on Fifth-Graders' Mathematical Achievement, I chose three Kagan Structures; Rally Coach, Round Table, and Timed Pair Share in order to focus on working in groups, pairs, and with whole class. Due to the experimental portion, I only implemented these three structures and I only did it with one math class even though I taught two. One was my comparison group and the other my treatment group. I taught the same content to both classes, followed the same timeline and lesson plan format until the guided practice portion of the lesson. This is where I implemented the three Kagan Structures with the treatment group and individual guided practice, more of the traditional teaching method, with the comparison group. This was very hard for me to do, but it had to be done. The same tests, quizzes, and pre and posttest were given to both groups and recorded. In the end the data was analyzed to check for a significant difference. After analyzing all the data and running many statistical tests (again..happy to share…just e-mail me!), the results showed a significant difference between the treatment group and the comparison group. The class receiving the Kagan Structures scored higher on tests, quizzes, and the improvement was greater on the posttest. I always knew this, but it was wonderful to have the data to back me up now, specifically in my own class, my own school!

Of course, as soon as my 16 week study concluded, I immediately began to implement Kagan Structures in both math classes and three months later when the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test), was given, there were little to no worries that achievement would be on the rise. I am happy to report that when test scores came in, our school improved by 7 %. Not bad for one year, but all I can say is….wait until next year!

For further information or a copy of my dissertation, please feel free to contact me at: