The Cooperative Elementary School: Effects on Students’ Achievement, Attitudes, and Social Relations
This article reports the results of a 2-year study of the cooperative elementary school model which used cooperation as an overarching philosophy to change school and classroom organization and instructional processes. The components of the model include: using cooperative learning across a variety of content areas, full-scale mainstreaming of academically handicapped students, teachers using peer coaching, teachers planning cooperatively, and parent involvement in the school. After the first year of implementation, students in cooperative elementary schools had significantly higher achievement in reading vocabulary. After the second year, students had significantly higher achievement in reading vocabulary, reading comprehension, language expression, and math computation than did their peers in traditional schools. After 2 years, academically handicapped students in cooperative elementary schools had significantly higher achievement in reading vocabulary, reading comprehension, language expression, math computation, and math application in comparison with similar students in comparison schools. There also were better social relations in cooperative elementary schools, and handicapped students were more accepted socially by their nonhandicapped peers than were similar students in traditional schools with pull-out remedial programs. The results also suggest that gifted students in heterogeneous cooperative learning classes had significantly higher achievement than their peers in enrichment programs without cooperative learning.