Assessment: Cooperative Learning

The following structures are the most commonly used formats (Parma, 1993): 

STUDENT TEAM LEARNING- The techniques were developed and researched at John Hopkins University (Slavin, 1991). The students work together to learn; they are responsible for one another's learning as well as their own. In addition, team goals are set and competition exists between the different teams in the classroom. Individual scores are based upon improvement over previous scores. 

THINK-PAIR-SHARE- It allows for the individual to think on his or her own. Then, two people pair and discuss their results. Finally, the pairs are grouped or all of the pairs combine in a whole group to share their outcomes. This format allows the shy person to gain confidence by just sharing with one other person instead of a whole group. Each person engages in conversation which does not happen in whole class discussions. 

JIGSAW- A very efficient method for disseminating a lot of information in a short period of time. In Jigsaw, students are assigned to "home" teams. This "home" team is given an article to read; they decide as group the key points. They each become an "expert" on their article. Each member (sometimes two or three members from one group due to the size of the whole class) then becomes a member of another group. This group includes at least one representative from each of the "home" teams. Each representative shares the information from the articles. The "home" teams regroup and complete an assignment containing information from all of the articles. Sometimes, this can be done individually or as an entire class. 

TEAMING TOGETHER -This involves small groups working together to complete a project. This format is especially suited to group essays, problem-solving activities, or math problems. 

GROUP INVESTIGATION-Students work in small groups choosing a sub-topic from the content area. The small groups divide the subtopics into individual tasks. Each member is responsible for his or her task and then everyone regroups to organize the material. A decision is made about the method the group will use to present the information to the entire class. This structure is effective in content areas where an entire class is studying the same topic.