Effects of collaborative learning in math on sixth graders' individual goal orientations from a socioconstructivist perspective

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Using socioconstructivism as a theoretical framework, this study investigated the ways in which classrooms that used peer learning groups influenced students' goals. Specifically, my goal was to examine collaborative learning as a process that may influence individuals' social and achievement goals. After confirming that 2 sixth-grade math teachers had fundamental beliefs supporting socioconstructivist practices, I administered surveys designed to measure achievement and social goals in their math classes to approximately 200 of their students at 2 times during the school year. I used hierarchical linear modeling techniques, with mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals as dependent variables at Time 2 and a selection of social goals and achievement goals as independent variables at Time 1. At the collaborative learning level, shared achievement goals were measured by asking students questions about the importance of group work, calculated as a mean score for students in their respective peer learning groups. For the more experienced math teacher, results indicated that students in groups that collectively valued the academic goals of group work were likely to adopt individual motivational strategies associated with performance-avoidance goals over time. I discuss explanations for this dynamic and suggestions for future research examining individual goals in the context of socioconstructivist teaching practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-290
Number of pages18
JournalElementary School Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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