Social Education 55(6) pps. 392-385
©1991 National Council for the Social Studies

Cooperative Learning and Achievement in Social Studies: Jigsaw II

Robert M. Mattingly and
Ronald L. VanSickle
Cooperative learning techniques usually demonstrate superior effects in instructional goals important to social studies teachers. These goals include improved student motivation and time on task, attendance, attitude toward school, friendship between students of different social groups (e.g., race, gender, handicap status, nationality), relationships between students of different groups, and academic achievement (Slavin 1983). Academic achievement is the most critical instructional goal for most secondary social studies teachers, and cooperative learning techniques usually have demonstrated relatively greater effectiveness in achieving that goal than have various whole-class instructional procedures. These positive achievements have been observed for students over a wide range of ability; learners with histories of learning difficulties, however, appear to benefit the most from cooperative learning techniques (Slavin 1981).
Cooperative Learning Strategies and Student Achievement
Cooperative learning refers to students working together to achieve academic objectives and to the instructional procedures that structure the students' mutual efforts. Newmann and Thompson (1987) reviewed research on cooperative learning in the secondary grades and compared the results of five different cooperative learning techniques: Student Teams/Achievement Divisions (Slavin 1986), Teams-Games-Tournament (Slavin 1986), Learning Together (Johnson and Johnson 1975), Group Investigation (Sharan and Sharan 1976), and Jigsaw (Aronson 1978; Slavin 1986). Newmann and Thompson reported that 68 percent of the comparisons between cooperative learning techniques and conventional instruction showed superior achievement effects for the cooperative techniques.1

Student Teams/Achievement Divisions was the most successful (89 percent), followed by Teams-Games-Tournament (75 percent), Learning Together (73 percent), Group Investigation (67 percent), and Jigsaw (17 percent).

In most experiments, Jigsaw, the least effective technique in the studies Newmann and Thompson reviewed, was no more effective in terms of academic achievement than conventional instruction. Slavin (1989) reviewed a larger set of cooperative learning studies and concluded, as did Newmann and Thompson, that Jigsaw is academically the least effective of the well-known cooperative learning techniques. Nevertheless, Jigsaw is often more effective than conventional, noncooperative instruction in producing desirable affective outcomes, such as helping relationships. Slavin (1983, 1989) has emphasized that cooperative learning techniques must meet certain conditions to be consistently effective academically: (a) groups must work toward a goal that can be achieved only through cooperation, and (b) students must be held individually accountable for their contributions to the achievement of the group goal. Newmann and Thompson hypothesized that the Jigsaw treatments were relatively less effective than the other techniques because they did not meet these criteria.

Jigsaw and Jigsaw II
As originally conceived and functionalized by Aronson (1978), Jigsaw requires students to work in groups of five to six members. Each student in a group is given information to which no one else in the group has access, thus making each student an "expert" on his or her segment of the subject matter. After receiving their assignments, the students reorganize into "expert" groups to study the subject matter and prepare to teach it to the members of their respective "home" groups. Next, they return to their "home" groups and take turns teaching each other what they have learned. All students in a group are expected to learn all the subject matter assigned to members of their group. After the small group instruction, students are tested on the subject matter and receive individual grades or other rewards. Although Aronson's version of Jigsaw requires students to cooperate to be successful, the exercise does not meet Slavin's effectiveness requirements because it incorporates neither a group goal nor individual accountability for contributing to the achievement of a group goal.

Slavin (1986) developed a variation of Jigsaw called Jigsaw II. Like Aronson's Jigsaw, each student in Jigsaw II, after preparing in an "expert" group, teaches his or her peers a particular part of the subject matter. However, several strategies differentiate Jigsaw II from its predecessor. After instruction, in Jigsaw II, teachers test students individually and produce team scores based on each student's test performance. Teachers use a technique called "Equal Opportunity Scoring" to produce scores based on individual students' performances relative to their previous performances. Teachers do not necessarily determine grades by this process. They provide, instead, public group recognition (e.g., certificates of achievement) based on each group's total academic achievement. Slavin's variation of Jigsaw meets his group goal and individual accountability criteria.

Research Reviews on Jigsaw
The Newmann and Thompson (1987) and Slavin (1989) research reviews did not clarify how teachers used Jigsaw in the studies reviewed. We analyzed those studies (Gonzalez 1981; Hertz-Lazarowitz, Sapir, and Sharan 1981; Lazarowitz, Baird, Hertz-Lazarowitz, and Jenkins 1985; Moskowitz, Malvin, Schaeffer, and Schaps 1983; Okebukola 1985; Rich, Amir, and Slavin 1986; Tomblin and Davis 1985), most of which were unpublished, and one additional study (Palmer and Johnson 1989). In all studies but one, the Jigsaw treatment was similar to Aronson's original version; thus it did not meet the group goal and individual accountability criteria. (Okebukola's study presented insufficient information to determine whether the criteria were met.) In six of the studies, Jigsaw was no more effective in terms of academic achievement than the noncooperative comparison treatments, and in one study it was less effective (Tomblin and Davis 1985). In Okebukola's (1985) study, Jigsaw was more effective than the noncooperative treatments but less effective than Teams-Games-Tournament and Student Teams/Achievement Divisions.

The available research does not assess the effectiveness of Slavin's version of Jigsaw, Jigsaw II. Before concluding that Jigsaw is no more effective than other noncooperative instructional procedures, we need more research than is currently available. This study tested the hypothesis that if modified along the lines Slavin recommended, Jigsaw would produce superior academic results when compared to a conventional, whole-class instructional process.

The treatment groups consisted of two comparable, heterogeneously grouped, 9th grade world regions geography classes at a United States Department of Defense Dependents High School in Germany. The two classes were randomly assigned either to Jigsaw II (n = 23) or to a conventional, whole-class (n = 22) instructional treatment. Both classes contained students from a wide range of academic ability levels, including students enrolled in the school's learning disabilities program. The average age in each class was fourteen years, eight months. The number of boys and girls in each class was approximately equal. The ethnic diversity of the classes (i.e., non-Hispanic European Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans) mirrored the general school population.

The students at this Department of Defense Dependents High School differed from most of their stateside counterparts in that almost none who began their high school careers at this school would finish high school there. The students were dependent children of the United States military personnel stationed in the area and the overseas tour of duty for military personnel is generally three years; often, as a result of transfers, students might stay for only a few months. As a result, the school's population is in a constant state of flux. The socioeconomic status of these students varied, generally along military pay and grade lines, ranging from senior noncommissioned officer to colonel.

The experimental period was nine weeks and encompassed a complete, nine-chapter study of Asia (Swanson 1987). A typical chapter included the narrative description of its topic (e.g., "The Land and People of Southeast Asia") and a social studies skills feature (e.g., "Reading a Weather Chart"). The two groups proceeded through the three units (South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia) at a rate of one chapter per week. Both classes used the same text, were provided the same enabling activities and materials (e.g., lectures, compass work, or map reading drill), and took the same tests, which accompanied the textbook.

Jigsaw II. The experimental, cooperative groups were organized according to the Jigsaw II student team learning model (Slavin 1986). The teacher assigned students to four-member teams balanced in terms of high, average, and low past achievement. The teacher told the students that several times each week they would be meeting in cooperative groups. The groups might be their "home" teams or their "expert" groups, depending on what they were studying or discussing. Students in the Jigsaw II classroom played a major role in planning and implementing instruction with teacher guidance; in all other ways, class materials, subject matter, and enabling activities given the two classes were identical.

A typical cycle of team activity for the cooperative groups through one textbook chapter consisted of the following steps:

(1) Students were given their general assignment and expert topics. They then read the assigned material.
(2) Students met in the "expert" groups and prepared to teach the content to their respective "home" team members.
(3) Experts returned to their "home" teams and taught their topics to their teammates.
(4) Students took the standardized chapter test individually and received two scores. The first score represented each student's individual test score for grading purposes, and the second was his or her contribution to the team score based on improved individual performance.
(5) The teacher then computed and posted team scores based on total improvement points, and publicly recognized strong team performances.
The teacher determined improvement points by using a system known as Equal Opportunity Scoring (Slavin 1986). EOS awards improvement points (ten points maximum) based on improvement differences between test scores and base scores. In this study, a student's initial base score was his or her last unit test score. The ten-point limit worked well in this study, allowing sufficient latitude for steady improvement by low and average achievers. High achievers were also able to score maximum points because a perfect score earned ten points. The minimum number of improvement points students could earn was zero. The teacher adjusted base scores weekly.

Comparison Group. The comparison class received instruction in a traditional format: assigned readings, enabling activities, whole-class discussion, and tests. Although both treatment conditions used the same materials and enabling activities, time allocated to particular activities varied. For example, the Jigsaw II class spent less time than the comparison class in lecture and whole-class discussion. With the exception of occasional unplanned cooperation during various class projects, the comparison group members were independent agents. Each was solely responsible for whatever classroom task he or she had been given. The teacher controlled the information each group received.

The school administration assigned students to classes, determined principally by students' programs of study and the need to balance class size. Because we could not assign students randomly to the treatment groups, we administered three pretests to assess the extent to which the two classes were equivalent at the beginning of the experiment. First, students took a 135-item, multiple-choice and matching pretest provided by the textbook's publisher that covered the upcoming nine-week study of Asia. A high internal consistency reliability coefficient of .92 was computed for the subject matter pretest. Second, we gave the Henmon-Nelson Test of Mental Ability (Lamke and Nelson 1973) to measure any discernable difference in the mental abilities of the two classes. We chose the Henmon-Nelson test because it is valid and reliable, is easy to administer and score, and requires only thirty minutes to complete. Third, we used the 75-item, multiple-choice Competency-Based Geography Test, Secondary Level, Form I (National Council for Geographic Education 1983) to estimate students' general geographic knowledge and skills prior to the experimental study. During development of the test, the reliability of Form I was computed to be a satisfactory .84 (Bettis 1983).

Posttest. The posttest was the sum of the nine chapter tests on Asia provided with the textbook (Swanson 1987). The weekly chapter tests were similar in content and form to the pretest, but covered the content in greater detail. Each test contained knowledge, comprehension, and simple application items. The teacher added the nine chapter test scores for each student and computed a percentage correct. These percentages were used in the data analysis to compare the two classes' achievement. No reliability estimate is available.

Data Analysis
We assessed the two classes according to general geographic knowledge and skills, intelligence, and text-specific knowledge of Asia. The three pretests produced highly consistent results (see table 1). The Competency-Based Geography Test, the Henmon-Nelson Test of Mental Ability, and the text-based content pretest produced virtually identical scores in both classes. Although we did not assess all possible differences, these three measures support the position that the two classes were academically equivalent.

We analyzed the posttest scores with a t-test for independent means. The achievement of the Jigsaw II experimental class was higher than the comparison class at a statistically significant level (t = 2.77, df = 43, p.01) (see table 2). We judged that the 5.2 percent score difference was also practically significant. The effect size of this difference is .81 and was computed by subtracting the mean of the comparison group from the mean of the experimental group and dividing by the standard deviation of the comparison group (Cohen 1977). Stated another way, 79 percent of the Jigsaw students exceeded the mean score of the comparison class students.

The subjects' posttest answer sheets were destroyed inadvertently before the reliability of the test was assessed. We believe the lack of a reliability estimate is not a serious problem for two reasons. First, the nine-chapter posttest was similar in content and format to the pretest which was highly reliable. Second, an unreliable posttest would reduce the observed difference between the experimental and comparison classes, thus shrinking the observed effect size (Bohrnstedt 1970); since we observed a substantial effect (ES= .81), the posttest was probably adequately reliable. Alternatively, the true effect was greater than the effect observed. In any case, the test was sufficiently reliable to detect a substantial effect in favor of the Jigsaw II treatment.

Consistent with the cooperative learning studies reviewed by Newmann and Thompson (1987) and Slavin (1989), this study found that Jigsaw II resulted in generally superior academic achievement effects. It is, therefore, inconsistent with the achievement effects reported by most Jigsaw studies. In this study, we modified Aronson's original version of Jigsaw (1978) to incorporate a group goal that could be achieved only with the contributions of all group members. Equal Opportunity Scoring allowed all students to contribute to the achievement of the group goal and made it possible to hold individual group members publicly accountable to their peers for their contributions to the group effort. These modifications are consistent with Slavin's (1986) recommendations and with some other cooperative learning techniques (e.g., Student Teams/Achievement Divisions and Teams-Games-Tournament). In light of this study's consistency with the larger cooperative learning research base, we conclude that Jigsaw, as modified (i.e., Jigsaw II), tends to produce higher levels of academic achievement than conventional whole-class, noncooperative instructional procedures in secondary social studies classes.

This experiment, focused on Jigsaw II, supports Slavin's contention that if small group, cooperative learning is to be consistently effective: (1) students must work toward a group goal and a reward they can achieve; and (2) students must be held accountable to their peers for their individual contributions to the achievement of the group's goal. Well-planned cooperative learning techniques such as Jigsaw II are feasible, effective ways for social studies teachers to increase their students' academic achievement.

1Two excellent resources for teachers who want to use cooperative learning techniques, including Jigsaw II, are Slavin's Using Student Team Learning (1986) and Cooperative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice (1990). Both are available from the Team Learning Project, Center for Research on Elementary and Middle Schools, The Johns Hopkins University, 3505 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218; (301) 338-8248.References
Aronson, Elliot. The Jigsaw Classroom. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1978.Bohrnstedt, G. W. "Reliability and Validity Assessment in Attitude Measurement." In Attitude Measurement, edited by G. F. Summers. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1970.Cohen, Jacob. Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. Rev. ed. New York: Academic Press, 1977.Gonzalez, Alex. "An Approach to Interdependent/Cooperative Bilingual Education and Measures Related to Social Motives." California State University, Fresno, 1981.Hertz-Lazarowitz, Rachel, Carmela Sapir, and Shlomo Sharan. "Academic and Social Effects of Two Cooperative Learning Methods in Desegregated Classrooms." Haifa University, Israel, 1981.Johnson, D. W., and R. T. Johnson. Learning Together and Alone. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1975.Lazarowitz, Reuben, J. Hugh Baird, Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz, and James Jenkins. "The Effects of Modified Jigsaw on Achievement, Classroom Social Climate, and Self-Esteem in High School Science Classes." In Learning to Cooperate, Cooperating to Learn, edited by R. E. Slavin, S. Sharan, S. Kagan, R. Hertz-Lazarowitz, C. Webb, and R. Schmuck. New York: Plenum, 1985.Moskowitz, Joel M., Janet H. Malvin, Gary A. Schaeffer, and Eric Schaps. "Evaluation of a Cooperative Learning Strategy." American Educational Research Journal 20 (1983): 687-696.Newmann, Fred M., and Judith A. Thompson. Effects of Cooperative Learning on Achievement in Secondary Schools: A Summary of Research. National Center on Effective Secondary Schools. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1987.Okebukola, Peter A. "The Relative Effectiveness of Cooperative and Competitive Interaction Techniques in Strengthening Students' Performance in Science Class." Science Education 69 (1985): 501-509.Palmer, Jesse, and J. T. Johnson. "Examination of the Jigsaw Approach in a College Classroom, Its Effect on Student Achievement and Its Impact on Student Evaluations of Teacher Performance." Journal of Social Studies Research 13 (1989): 34-39.Rich, Yisrael, Yehuda Amir, and Robert Slavin. "Instructional Strategies for Improving Children's Cross-Ethnic Relations." Institute for the Advancement of Social Integration in the School, Bar Ilan University, Israel, 1986.Sharan, Shlomo, and Yael Sharan. Small-Group Teaching. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Technology Publications, 1976.Slavin, Robert E. Cooperative Learning. New York: Longman Publishers, 1983.________. Cooperative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University, 1990.________. Using Student Team Learning. 3d ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University, 1986.________. "Cooperative Learning and Student Achievement." In School and Classroom Organization, edited by Robert E. Slavin. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers, 1989.Swanson, J. L. World Geography: A Physical and Cultural Approach. River Forest, Ill.: Laidlaw Publishing Company, 1987.Tomblin, E. A., and B. R. Davis. "A Study of Cooperative Learning Environments." San Diego Public Schools, San Diego, California, 1985.Robert M. Mattingly is a social studies teacher at Fulda American High School in Fulda, Germany. Ronald L. VanSickle is Associate Professor of Social Science Education at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia 30602.