The Effects of Peer Tutoring on Fifth-Grade Students’ Motivation and Learning in Math
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AbstractAn essential component of mathematics in everyday life is the ability to problem solve. Students need to be able to master problem-solving skills and one way to achieve this goal is through peer-assisted learning or peer tutoring. Historically, studies have concluded that peer tutoring increased academic achievement and motivation in tutors and students being tutored. Research suggests that peer tutoring has shown significant gains in the use of mathematical language and self-confidence. Motivation was an additional benefit of using a peer assisted model for learning to promote student progress in the mathematics classroom. The focus of this thesis project is to determine whether or not peer tutoring affects student learning and subsequent motivation in mathematics in fifth grade math problem solving. Incorporating this concept, of peer related partnerships to learn, into the reality of a school environment which has a strict code of conduct, believing that students learn better when they are seated in quiet rows receiving teacher-directed instruction, rather than working with one another, represented a challenge to the researcher. However, understanding different learning styles of students and respecting these policies and strict guidelines, this research was undertaken to assess the overall impact of student-to-student learning and the outcomes for student achievement. The secondary goal of this research study was to examine student motivation in classroom settings. Since problem solving is not limited to classroom assignments but is also used in real-world settings, this project created mathematical curriculum that focused on problem-solving skills designed to be a realistic tool in weekly tutoring sessions and to determine alternative ways to reach student achievement. The study included thirty fifth-grade students from an urban school located in New York. Participants were grouped according to ability. The groups were formed by baseline data that was administered during the first week of school. Research results analyze surveys, student interviews, classroom observations, as well as pre and post testing. Conclusions drawn from the research state peer tutoring is a beneficial way to support and improve student motivation with regards to mathematics. This style of collaborative learning is a practical way for classroom teachers assisting struggling learners and allows students to be in charge of their own learning.
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