Editor’s Note: This study compares reciprocal peer tutoring to conventional classroom instruction in a class in Introductory Technology. Make your prediction of the outcome and then read on….
Effect of Reciprocal Peer Tutoring
on the Academic Achievement of Students
in Introductory Technology
R Uwameiye and S. E. O. Aduwa-Ogiegbaen
This study was carried out in order to ascertain the effect of reciprocal peer tutoring on the academic achievement of students in Introductory Technology. The population of this study consisted of all public junior secondary schools class two in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. The instrument used for data collection was Introductory Technology Achievement Test (ITAT) which contains 50 multiple choice items. The result of this study indicated a significant difference between the mean posttest achievement of students’ taught using reciprocal peer tutoring and those taught using conventional methods.
Background of the study
Education is the totality of life experiences that people acquire, and which enables them to cope with and derive satisfaction from living in the world. This is because it enables them to achieve social competence and optimum individual development. It is on this premise that it is believed that the quality of a nation’s education is proportional to the level of its prosperity. Economically, advanced nations of the world are distinguished by the excellence of their educational system. Towards revolutionizing Nigeria’s educational system, the 1969 Curriculum Conference gave birth to the national policy on education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1981) which brought changes into the Nigerian educational system. A major change is the one from the 126.96.36.199 system of education to the 188.8.131.52 system of education which came into prominence in Nigeria in 1982.
This 6-3-3-4 means six years of primary school, three years of junior secondary school, three years of senior secondary school and four years of university education. The 6-3-3-4 system which was introduced in 1982 brought many reforms into the educational system in Nigeria. At the secondary level, pre-vocational subjects were introduced into the curriculum while vocational subjects were introduced into the senior secondary level.
The focus of the pre-vocational was to expose students at the junior secondary school level to the world of works through exploration. Such exposure will enable junior secondary school students make intelligent career choice and also intelligent consumption patterns.
Among the prevocational subjects in the junior secondary school curriculum, are practical agriculture, Home Economics, Business Studies and Introductory Technology. Introductory Technology is an integration of components of woodwork, metalwork, basic electronics, applied electricity, water flow technology, airflow technology, food preservatives, automobile, technical drawing, physics, rubber technology, chemistry, plastics, basic building technology, and ceramics. Introductory Technology gives opportunities to students to use tools and machines, which are used in the industrial processes. This helps to develop good attitudes towards technology and the industry. Uwameiye (1993) reported that through Introductory Technology, students are helped to explore the various areas of technology towards making intelligent career choice. He/She explained further that introductory technology does not in any way provide training for specific occupations nor aims at developing competencies.
Introductory technology which is the only core subject among the pre-vocational subjects of the junior secondary school in Nigeria, involves the academic practical study of materials, and sources of energy with the ultimate intention of applying knowledge from the study to provide a comfortable environment for man. This study of Introductory Technology helps to reduce ignorance about technology. The subject has three main objectives as stated by Federal Republic of Nigeria (Federal Ministry of Education, 1985):
to provide pre-vocational orientation for further training in technology;
to provide basic technological literacy for everyday living and
to stimulate creativity.
Towards the realization of these objectives of Introductory Technology, adequate teaching methods must be put in place for its teaching so that optimum achievement can be guaranteed. Reciprocal Peer Tutoring (RPT) is one of such methods of instruction used in teaching.
RPT is a teaching method in which students of the same class and of the same age bracket undertake the teaching of themselves through a process whereby one student among the group teaches other students. It is a procedure that enables each member in a group to participate in the group as a tutor. According to Griffin & Griffin (1997), students function equally as both tutor and tutee in reciprocal peer tutoring system of teaching.
Since RPT is a teaching method which consists of recurrent instructional processes applicable to various types of subject matter and usable by more than one teacher. It is a pattern of interaction between the tutor and the tutee, with the experience intended to lead to a change in learner’s behaviour, otherwise known as learning outcomes. Interaction here implies the verbal and non-verbal communication, which forms the basis of any teaching method.
RPT is one collaborative approach where pairs of students interact to assist each other’s academic achievement by one student adopting the role of tutor and the others the role of tutee. Recognizing the benefits gained by students from acting as tutors, reciprocal peer tutoring formalizes a process enabling both students in a peer tutoring pair to participate and experience the role of tutor as well as tutee. In this dual role as tutor and tutee, students benefit through the preparation and instruction in which tutors engage, as well as from instruction that tutees receive.
The study employed quasi-experimental research design of pre-test, post-test control group. The effects of two strategies (RPT and conventional) on the academic achievement were examined. The design was specific with non-randomized control group and non-equivalent groups. This was because the subjects were taken as intact groups composed of mixed of low and high achievers.
Population for this Study
The population of this study consisted of all public junior secondary schools class two in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State. There are seventeen (17) public junior secondary schools in Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State.
Sample for this Study
Purposive sampling technique was adopted and used to select schools for the study. Out of all the public secondary schools in Esan West Local Government Area, two of them were randomly selected for this study using the table of random numbers. The subjects were intact group from the selected schools. Chosen schools were randomly assigned to experimental and control group while students in the sample schools remained in their intact classes.
The only instrument used for data collection was “Introductory Technology Achievement Test (ITAT) (Uwameiye and Ojikutu, 2005)”. ITAT is a standardized test which contains 50 multiple choice items. ITAT has reliability index of 0.78.The topics which were chosen were taught using RPT for the experimental group while a teacher taught in the control group using the conventional method of teaching.
Procedure for Data Collection
Permission was sought from the principals of the selected schools to allow their schools to be used for the study. The teacher in the control group was subjected to training on how to effectively teach the students using the conventional method which was mostly lecture method of teaching. Students were assigned a topic each to teach to other students. A roster was prepared for the student teaching. Each of the control (conventional group) and experimental group (RPT group) was taught for six weeks. In the control group, a trained introductory technology teacher exposed the students to the usual conventional method of teaching where he/she did the talking all alone. The Introductory Technology teacher used lesson plans that were prepared by the researcher. At the beginning and end of the six weeks the Introductory Technology Achievement Test (ITAT) was administered as a pretest and post-test to the students in the two groups.
To facilitate the test of difference between the pre-test, mean achievement’s scores and the Post-test mean achievement score, ITAT was used as instrument of data collection. ITAT was administered on two separate occasions (pre-test and post-test respectively) to each of the group (control and experimental groups). Two separate scores were obtained; they are the pre-test scores and the post-test scores. The pre-test scores for the two groups were used to determine the level of entry behaviour of the students in each of the groups before the administration of the different treatment to the groups. This is to facilitate the determination of the effects or other wise of the treatment on the recipient students. For each test, separate mean score and separate standard deviation were obtained to test if there is any significant difference between the pre-test and post-test mean performance scores of the experimental group on one hand and the control group on the other hand.
To test this hypothesis 3, the post-test of both groups were used. Separate mean performance scores and separate standard deviations were obtained. The calculated t-test values and the critical t-test values for the groups were compared at .05 probability level.
Pre-test, Post-test Mean Performance Scores of Students
Taught with Reciprocal Peer Tutoring and Method of Teaching
Research Question 1:
What is the difference in the pre-test and posttest academic achievement of students taught with the reciprocal peer tutoring in Introductory Technology
There is no significant difference between the pre-test academic achievement of students and the post-test academic achievement of students in Introductory Technology taught with the reciprocal peer tutoring
Mean, Standard Deviation and t-test of Students
Taught with Reciprocal Peer Teaching Method
*Significant, P <. 05, Critical t = 1.96
Table 1 indicates a significant difference between the pre-test and post-test experimental group taught with reciprocal peer tutoring, in favour of the post test. This shows that the calculated t-value of 18.51 for experimental group pre-test, post-test mean achievement scores is significant at .05 probability level. Therefore, the hypothesis which states that there is no significant difference between the pre-test academic achievement of students and the post-test academic achievement of students in Introductory Technology taught with the reciprocal peer tutoring is rejected. This finding indicates that the treatment has significant effect on students’ post-test mean achievement scores. This can mean that the difference in pre-test, post-test mean performance scores was as a result of the treatment given.
Pre-test, Post-test Mean Performance Scores of Students Taught with Traditional Method of Teaching
Research Question 2:
Is there a difference between the pre-test and post-test academic achievement of students taught with the conventional method of teaching in Introductory Technology?
There is no significant difference between the pre-test academic achievement of students and the post-test academic achievement of students taught with the traditional method of teaching in Introductory Technology.
Mean, Standard Deviation and t-test of Students
Taught With Traditional Method of Teaching
Significant, P < .05
Table 2 indicates a significant difference between the pre-test and post-test control group taught with conventional method, in favour of post test. Thus the hypothesis which says that there is no significant difference between the pre-test academic achievement of students and the post-test academic achievement of students taught with the conventional method of teaching is rejected. This indicates a significant difference in the mean performance scores of students in their pre-test and post-test under the conventional method of teaching.
Post-test Mean Achievement Scores of Students Taught With Reciprocal Peer Tutoring Teaching Method and Traditional Method of Teaching
Research Question 3:
What is the difference between the post-test academic achievement of students taught with reciprocal peer tutoring and the students taught with the conventional method of teaching in Introductory Technology?
There is no significant difference between the post-test academic achievement of students taught with the reciprocal peer tutoring and the post test academic achievement of students taught with the conventional method of teaching in Introductory Technology.
Post-test Mean Achievement Scores of Students Taught With Reciprocal Peer Tutoring Teaching Method and Traditional Method of Teaching
* Significant, P < .05
Table 3 indicates a significant difference between the post-test control group taught with conventional method and the post-test experimental group taught with reciprocal peer tutoring, in favour of the reciprocal peer tutoring (experimental group). This indicates that the hypothesis of no significant difference between the post test academic achievement of students taught with the reciprocal peer tutoring and the post test academic achievement of students taught with the conventional method of teaching in Introductory Technology is therefore rejected.
Discussion of Findings
Tables 1, 2 and 3 show the descriptive and inferential statistics of the study. The mean achievement scores are descriptive or representative scores of the group or variables they represent while the t-test provide premise for making inference or deductions on their relevant tested hypotheses.
Table 1 shows a significant difference between the academic achievement in the pretest and posttest of students taught with reciprocal peer tutoring method of teaching. This shows that different treatments which were given to the experimental group effected the positive changes on the students mean achievement scores in posttest achievement test. It was however noted that no treatment was given to the pre-test group before the test while treatment was given before the test in the case of the posttest. This is also reflected in table 2 which shows that the significant difference between pre-test mean scores and post-test traditional method of teaching Introductory Technology was as a result of treatment given.
Table 3 reveals that there is difference between posttest academic achievement of students taught with reciprocal peer tutoring and those taught with conventional method of teaching, in favour of reciprocal peer tutoring. In support of this, Cawelti (1999) stated that there is a long history of research on non-traditional, cooperative and student-centered instruction. The research indicates that cooperative learning may result in (a) higher student achievement and greater productivity, (b) more caring, supportive, and committed relationships among students, and (c) greater psychological health, social competence, and self-esteem. This is in line with Fantuzzo, Dimeff and Fox (1989) view which stated that reciprocal peer tutoring strategy resulted in greater improvements in cognitive gains, lower levels of subject distress, and higher course satisfaction than students who received an attention placebo or participated in an independent unstructured learning format. In a related development, Slavin (1991) stated that reciprocal peer tutoring is a form of cooperative learning, which has been found to be an effective technique for increasing students’ academic achievement.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Failure rate in Introductory Technology is a performance indication of the inadequacy of the conventional method of teaching Introductory Technology. In reciprocal peer tutoring method, students no longer had to sit in straight rows and do individual work throughout the entire period, but the method allowed students to be mobile and work as a teacher and later as a student on various assignments. Following the findings of this study, the researcher recommends that:
government should encourage reciprocal peer tutoring method of teaching in all junior secondary schools as a teaching method.
teachers should be encouraged to engage their students in reciprocal peer tutoring teaching method.
teachers should be trained on effective engagement of reciprocal peer tutoring in schools.
Cawelti, G. (1999). “Improving Achievement”. The American School Board Journal. 15-18
.Fantuzzo, J. W., Dimeff, L. A. & Fox, S. L. (1989). Reciprocal peer tutoring: a multimodal assessment of effectiveness with college students. Teaching of Psychology Journal, 16. 133-135.
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (1985). Curriculum for Introductory Technology. Lagos: Heinemann.
Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981). National policy on education. Lagos: NERDC.
Griffin, B. W., & Griffin, M. M. (1997). The effects of reciprocal peer tutoring on graduate students’ achievement, test anxiety, and academic self-efficacy. The Journal of Experimental Education, 65. 197-209.
Slavin, R. E. (1991). Cooperative learning in post-secondary education: Implications from social psychology for active learning experiences. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
Uwameiye, R. (1993). Some factors militating against the effective teaching of introductory technology in Bendel State schools. International Journal of Education Research, 5, 16-22
About the Authors
Dr. R. Uwameiye Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Vocational and Technical Education, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. S.E.O. Aduwa-Ogiegbaen Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. Email: email@example.com