The effect of Student Team Achievement Divisions cooperative learning technique on upper secondary social studies students' academic achievement and attitude towards social studies class
A thorough review of the literature exhibited extensive theoretical constructs and discussion on the positive effects of the use of Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD) cooperative learning strategy; however, a lack of empirical research at the upper secondary level exists. Thus, the primary purpose of this study was to determine if the application of STAD in the upper secondary social studies class would improve academic achievement and student attitude towards social studies class. The 47 twelfth-grade students in two advanced progress American Government classes were from a southern Mississippi public school. Each class received instruction from one of two teaching methods. The comparison group received instruction through traditional methods which utilized a lecture, textbook, worksheet and discussion format. The treatment group received instruction from a method which applied the Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD) cooperative learning technique. Both groups covered identical content and were administered the same tests. Attitude measures were obtained after the study through the application of the Estes Attitude Scale. Academic achievement was measured both prior to and after the study. The pretest and posttest were developed by the primary investigator and the classroom teacher with the aid of a panel of experts. Qualitative measures in the form of student and teacher surveys were administered after the completion of the study. ANCOVA and ANOVA statistical procedures were used to discern the findings of the study. The results of these tests demonstrated that the application of STAD in the upper secondary social studies classroom exhibited no statistically significant difference in academic achievement or student attitude towards social studies class. The qualitative dimension of the study, in the form of student and teacher surveys, suggests that the application of cooperative learning makes learning easier and more enjoyable for the student and is an easy technique to implement in the classroom, particularly in a block scheduled timetable. The results demonstrate that STAD is an effective teaching technique for advanced progress social studies classrooms and a particularly suitable classroom technique for a block schedule timetable. Further study needs to add to the dearth of cooperative research at the upper secondary level particularly in the area of social studies.