Learning together in mixed-ability elementary classrooms

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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In educational practice, teachers often struggle how to deal with requirements regarding minimum levels of cognitive performance, differentiation, and social development. This dissertation focused on finding a balanced approach to the demands on both a cognitive and social level. A seven-week lesson series, based on the jigsaw method, was developed that incorporated same-ability collaboration and mixed-ability cooperation in a context of inquiry learning and learning by design for primary school children. Two of the studies described in this dissertation sought to provide input for the development of the lesson series. A third, large-scale evaluation study compared the lesson series to more traditional, individual learning. Children’s domain knowledge, inquiry knowledge, and attitudes towards technology and science were assessed.

The main findings indicate that the BE COOL! lesson series, that encourages social interaction between children of different ability levels, led to equivalent cognitive learning outcomes. An additional advantage of the BE COOL! lesson series is that it has many benefits that are lacking in individual learning methods.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • de Jong, Ton, Supervisor
  • Eysink, Tessa H.S., Supervisor
Award date22 Dec 2017
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4445-0
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2017


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