Examining the Efficacy of Co-operative Learning Strategy on Undergraduate Students’ Achievement in Mathematics

Adeneye Olarewaju Awofala, Abisola Olusola Lawani


Evidence suggests strong support for innovative teaching approaches in mathematics intervention in universities all over the world and a robust backing has been accorded to co-operative learning pedagogy, which provides strong professional development to teachers on ways of  promoting students’ social skills and aiding them to learn in a constructivist way. There is no doubt that co-operative learning is one of the most extensively documented methods to pedagogy in mathematics but little is known about its efficacy in the Nigerian university education setting. This study investigated the effectiveness of co-operative learning strategy on the achievement in mathematics of 220 university students in Nigeria within the blueprint of quasi-experimental research of Solomon four non-equivalent control group design. It also examined the influence of gender on students’ achievement in mathematics. Achievement in mathematics was measured by the differentiation achievement test with KR-20 of 0.86 and data collected for the study were analysed by adopting the independent samples t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA). The results showed significant main effect of co-operative learning strategy on students’ achievement in mathematics whereas no significant main influence of gender was found on the dependent measure. Also, there was no significant interaction effect of treatment and gender on students’ achievement in mathematics. Based on the positive effect of cooperative learning strategy on university students’ achievement in mathematics in this study, it is paramount to adjust cooperative learning principles to enhance the needs of universities in Nigeria. Integrating technology to enhance enactment of major pedagogical elements of cooperative learning and to differentiate teaching and learning to improve numerous needs of students may provide a leeway to optimize mathematics results for Nigerian students.


co-operative learning; mathematics achievement; gender; undergraduate students

Full Text:



Adeyemi, B. A. (2008). Effects of cooperative learning and problem solving strategies on junior secondary school students’ achievement in social studies. Journal of Educational Psychology, 16(3), 691-708.

Akinsola, M. K. & Awofala, A. O. A. (2009). Effect of personalisation of instruction on students’ achievement and self-efficacy in mathematics word problems. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 40(3), 389-404. doi: 10.1080/00207390802643169.

Akinsola, M. K., & Awofala, A. O. A. (2008). Effects of problem context and reasoning complexity on mathematics problem solving achievement and transfer of secondary school students. European Journal of Scientific Research, 20(3), 641-651.

Ali, R., Hukamdad, Akhter, A., & Khan, A. (2010). Effect of using problem solving method in teaching mathematics on the achievement of mathematics students. Asian Social Science, 6, 67–72.

Amit, M. & Fried, M. N. (2002). Research, reform, and times of change. In Handbook of International Research in Mathematics Education; English, L.D., Ed.; Erlbaum: Mahwah, NJ, USA, pp. 355–381.

Awofala, A. O. (2016). Effect of personalisation of instruction on students’ motivation to learn mathematics word problems in Nigeria. Turkish Journal of Computer and Mathematics Education, 7(3), 486-509.

Awofala, A. O. A, Fatade, A. O. & Ola-Oluwa, S. A. (2012). Achievement in cooperative and individualistic goal-structured junior secondary school mathematics classrooms in Nigeria International Journal of Mathematics Trends and Technology, 3(1), 7 – 12.

Awofala, A. O. A. & Anyikwa, B. E. (2014). Assessing adult learners’ numeracy as related to gender and performance in arithmetic. New Approaches in Educational Research, 3(2), 83-92. doi:10.7821/near.3.2.83-92.

Awofala, A. O. A. & Nneji, L. M. (2011). Effects of framing and team assisted individualized instructional strategies on students’ achievement in mathematics. Journal of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria, 46(2), 60-71.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2008). Women and the learning of mathematics. African Journal of Historical Sciences in Education, 3(1), 195 – 213.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2010). Impact of personalised instruction on senior secondary school learning outcomes in mathematics word problems. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis. University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2011a). Effect of concept mapping strategy on students’ achievement in junior secondary school mathematics. International Journal of Mathematics Trends & Technology, 2(3), 11-16.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2011b). Effect of personalized, computer-based instruction on students’ achievement in solving two-step word problems. International Journal of Mathematics Trends and Technology, 2(2), 5 – 10.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2011c). Is gender a factor in mathematics performance among Nigerian senior secondary school students with varying school organization and location? International Journal of Mathematics Trends and Technology, 2(3), 17 – 21.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2012). Development and factorial structure of students’ evaluation of teaching effectiveness scale in mathematics. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences, 7(1), 33 – 44.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2014). Examining personalisation of instruction, attitudes toward and achievement in mathematics word problems among Nigerian senior secondary school students. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 2(4), 273-288.

Awofala, A. O. A. (2017). Assessing senior secondary school students’ mathematical proficiency as related to gender and performance in mathematics in Nigeria. International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 3(2), 488-502.

Awofala, A. O. A., Arigbabu, A. A. & Awofala, A. A. (2013). Effects of framing and team assisted individualised instructional strategies on senior secondary school students’ attitudes toward mathematics. Acta Didactica Napocensia, 6(1), 1 – 22.

Awofala, A. O. A., Balogun, T. A., & Olagunju, M. A. (2011). Effects of three modes of personalisation on students’ achievement in mathematics word problems in Nigeria. International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning. Retrieved 24 July 2019 from http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/journal/awofala.pdf.

Awofala, A. O. A., Fatade, A. O. & Olaoluwa, S. A. (2013). Improving students' interest in solving mathematics word problems through personalisation of instruction. Indian Streams Research Journal, 3(1), 1-11.

Awofala, A. O. A., Fatade, A. O., & Udeani, U. N. (2015). Nigerian preservice science, technology and mathematics teachers’ computer self-efficacy: An exploration based on gender, age, and discipline of study. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 3(2), 101-119.

Burron, B., James, L., & Ambrosio, A. (1993). The effects of cooperative learning in a physical science course for elementary/middle level preservice teachers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30, 697-707.

Celikten, O., Ipekcioglu, S., Ertepinar, H., & Geban, O. (2012). The effect of the conceptual change oriented instruction through cooperative learning on 4th grade students' understanding of earth and sky concepts. Science Education International, 23(1), 84-96.

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioural sciences (2. Auflage). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Curtis, D. D. (2001). Exploring collaborative online learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Network, 5, 21–34.

D’Souza, S. & Wood, L. (2003). Tertiary students’ views about group work in mathematics. In Proceedings of the Educational Research, Risks and Dilemmas—New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) and Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Joint Conference, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 29 November–3 December 2003; Available online: http://www.aare.edu.au/ 03pap/dso03154.pdf (accessed on 7 June 2016).

Davidson, N. (1985). Small group cooperative learning in mathematics: A selective view of the research. In Learning to Cooperate, Cooperating to Learn; Slavin, R., Ed.; Plenum Press: New York, NY, USA, pp. 211–230.

Ebrahim, A. (2012). The effect of cooperative learning strategies on elementary students' science achievement and social skills in Kuwait. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 10(2), 293-314.

Eccles, J. S., & Midgley, C. M. (1989). Stage-environment fit: Developmentally appropriate classrooms for young adolescents. In C. Ames, & R. Ames (Eds.), Research on Motivation in Education, vol. 3 (pp. 139–186). San Diego: Academic Press.

Esiobu, G. O. (2011). Achieving gender equality in science class: Shift from competition to cooperative learning. Multicultural Educational and Technology Journal, 5(4), 244-257

Fatade, A. O., Nneji, L. M., Awofala, A. O. A., & Awofala, A. A. (2012). Mode of entry and gender as determinants of Nigerian pre-service teachers’ performance in degree mathematics and science courses, International Journal of Mathematics Trends and Technology, 3(3), 103 – 109.

Gall, M. D., Borg, W. R., & Gall, J. P. (1996). Education research-an introduction (6th ed.). White plains N.Y: Longman.

Galton, M., Hargreaves, L., & Pell, T. (2009). Group work and whole-class teaching with 11-to 14-year-olds compared. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(1), 119-140.

Gillies, R., & Ashman, A. (1998). Behavior and interactions of children in cooperative groups in lower and middle elementary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 1-12.

Hiebert, J., & Wearne, D. (1993). Instructional tasks, classroom discourse, and student learning in second grade. American Educational Research Journal, 30, 393-425.

Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, R. T. (2005). New developments in social interdependence theory. Psychological Monographs, 131(4), 285-358.

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (1989). Cooperation and competition: Theory and research. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Johnson, D.W.& Johnson, R.T. (1990). Social skills for successful group work. Educational Leadership, 47, 29–33.

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R. & Smith, K. A. (1998). Active learning: Cooperative in the college classroom (2. edition). Edina, Mn: Interaction Book Company.

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T. & Holubec, E.J. (1994). Cooperative learning in the classroom.VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T. & Smith, K.A. (1991). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity; ASHE-ERIC Report on Higher Education; The George Washington University: Washington, DC, USA.

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T. & Smith, K.A. (2013). Cooperative learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory. Journal on Excellence in University Teaching, 25, 85–118.

Kerr, N. & Bruun, S. (1983). The dispensability of member effort and group motivation losses: Free-rider effects. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol., 44, 78–94.

Kilpatrick, J. (1992). A history of research in mathematics education. In Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning; Grouws, D.A., Ed.; Macmillan: New York, NY, USA, pp. 3–38.

Lararowtiz, R., Hertz-Lazaraowitz, R., & Baird, J. (1994). Learning science in a cooperative setting: Academic achievement and affective outcomes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 31, 1121-1131.

Law, Y. (2011). The effects of cooperative learning on enhancing Hong Kong fifth graders' achievement goals, autonomous motivation and reading proficiency. Journal of Research in Reading, 34(4), 402-425.

Lazarowitz, R., Baird, J., & Bowlden, V. (1996). Teaching biology in a group mastery learning mode: High school student’s academic achievement and affective outcomes. International Journal of Science Education, 18, 447-462.

Lewin, K. (1948). Resolving social conflicts. New York: Harper.

Lonning, R. (1993). Effect of cooperative learning strategies on student verbal interaction and achievement during conceptual change instruction in 10th grade general science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 30, 1087-1101.

Marhira, H. & Azamat, A. (2013). Traditional vs modern teaching methods. Advantages and disadvantages. 3rd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from http://eprint .ibu.edu.ba/1901/

Mathes, P., Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. (1997). Cooperative story mapping. Remedial and Special Education, 18, 20-27.

McManus, S., & Gettinger, M. (1996). Teacher and student evaluations of cooperative learning and observed interactive behaviors. The Journal of Educational Research, 90, 13-22.

Montgomery, D. C. (2013). Design and analysis of experiments (8th ed.). Wiley.

Nardi, E. & Stewart, S. (2003). Is mathematics T.I.R.E.D? A profile of quiet disaffection in the secondary mathematics classroom. British Educational Research Journal, 29, 345–367.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1989). Curriculum and evaluation standards for school mathematics; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA, USA.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2011). Intervention: A position of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA, USA.

Newbern, D.; Dansereau, D.F.; Patterson, M.E. & Wallace, D.S. (1994, April). Toward a science of cooperation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

O’Donnell, A.M. (2000). The effects of explicit incentives on scripted and unscripted cooperation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(1), 74-86.

Ogunleye, A., Awofala, A. O. A & Adekoya, E. A. (2014). Effect of students’ background knowledge of mathematics on senior secondary school students’ achievement in physics. Chemistry: Bulgarian Journal of Science Education, 23(6), 863-880.

Ojaleye, O. & Awofala, A. O. A. (2018). Blended learning and problem-based learning instructional strategies as determinants of senior secondary school students’ achievement in algebra. International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 4(2), 486-501. DOI:10.21890/ijres. 428286.

Pierce, R. L., Cassady, J. C., Adams, C. M., Speirs Neumeister, K. L., Dixon, F. A., & Cross, T. L. (2011). The effects of clustering and curriculum on the development of gifted learners' math achievement. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 34(4), 569-594.

Shihusa, H., & Keraro, F. N. (2009). Using advance organizers to enhance students’ motivation in learning biology. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 5(4), 413-420.

Slavin, R., & Lake, C. (2008). Effective programs in elementary mathematics; A bestevidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 78(3), 427-515.

Smith, K.A. (1996). Cooperative learning: Making “group work” work. In Active Learning: Lessons from Practice and Emerging Issues. New Directions for Teaching and Learning; Bonwell, C., Sutherlund, T., Eds.; Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA, USA, Volume 67, pp. 71–82.

Souvignier, E., & Kronenberger, J. (2007). Cooperative learning in third graders' jigsaw groups for mathematics and science with and without questioning training. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(4), 755-771. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000709906X173297

Stein, M.K., Grover, B.W., & Henningsen, M. (1996). Building student capacity for mathematical thinking and reasoning: An analysis of mathematical tasks used in reform classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 33(2), 455-488.

Tarim, K., (2009). The effects of cooperative learning on preschoolers’ mathematics problem solving ability. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 72, 325-340. DOI: 10.1007/s10649-069-9197-x.

Tarmizi, R. A. & Bayata, S. (2012). Collaborative problem-based learning in mathematics: A cognitive load perspective. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 32, 344–350.

The Education Alliance (2006). Closing the achievement gap: Best practices in teaching mathematics. The Education Alliance. Available online: www.educationalliance.org (accessed on 22 April 2019).

Tracey, L., Madden, N. A., & Slavin, R. E. (2010). Effects of co-operative learning on the mathematics achievement of years 4 and 5 pupils in Britain: A randomised control trial. Effective Education, 2(1), 85-97.

Webb, N. M. (2008). Learning in small groups. In T. L. Good (Ed.), 21st Century education: A reference handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Webb, N. M., Troper, J. D. & Fall, R. (1995). Constructive activity and learning in collaborative small groups. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 406–423.

Wiersma, W. & Jurs, S. G. (2005). Research methods in education. An introduction. 8th edition. Boston Pearson Publications.

Wood, T., Cobb, P. & Yackel, E. (1991). Change in teaching mathematics: A Case Study. American Educational Research Journal, 28, 587–616.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.20961/ijpte.v4i1.33402


  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


International Journal of Pedagogy and Teacher Education (IJPTE)

Print ISSN: 2597-7792
Online ISSN: 2549-8525
Website: https://jurnal.uns.ac.id/ijpte/index
Email: ijpte@mail.uns.ac.id
Published by: Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Sebelas Maret
Ir. Sutami Street, No. 36A, Surakarta, Jawa Tengah Indonesia