This series of meta-analyses investigates the effects of social interdependence (cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning structures) on achievement and peer relationships among college students. This study quantitatively synthesized the literature on the effects of social interdependence on achievement and peer relationship outcomes based on 1,204 effect sizes from 231 experimental studies involving 37,422 college and graduate-level students. The overall effects of cooperative compared to competitive and individualistic learning structures on achievement resulted in moderate effect sizes (g = .42 and .36 respectively. The estimated effects of cooperative learning on peer relationships was statistically significant and positive for the comparison to competitive structures (g = .88) and individualistic structures (g = .71). These findings are consistent with the conclusions of previous meta-analyses examining this population. Explanatory models were constructed to examine the variance in effect sizes and the potential influence of several moderating variables including: unit of measure (group vs. individual measures), level of cognitive task (high vs. low complexity), and methodological quality of primary studies (high, moderate, low quality). Only unit of measure was identified as a statistically significant contributor to the overall variance in the effect size for achievement when comparing cooperative and individualistic learning structures. Possible reasons for the remaining unexplained variance in these meta-analyses, along with implications for practice and future directions for research, are also offered.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2013. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Dr. David W. Johnson. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 140 pages, appendices A-C.
Hilk, Caroline Lual.
Effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning structures on college student achievement and peer relationships: a series of meta-analyses.
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