For some, but not all, students, the option of working collaboratively with other students is an effective way to sustain engagement in protracted projects and activities. The distribution of mentoring through peers can greatly increase the opportunities for one-on-one support. The experimental and quantitative research presented here supports the effectiveness of strategies such as cooperative learning groups with scaffolded roles and responsibilities, school-wide programs of positive behavior support with differentiated objectives and supports, and peer tutoring and support. The scholarly reviews and expert opinions provide a more classroom-based perspective on the benefits of providing options to foster collaboration and communication.
Experimental & Quantitative Evidence
Bahr, M. W., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Fernstrom, P., & Stecker, P. M. (1993). Reflections on "Effectiveness of student versus teacher monitoring during prereferral intervention." Exceptionality, 4(1), 55-58.
Bentz, J. L., & Fuchs, L. S. (1996). Improving peers’ helping behavior to students with learning disabilities during mathematics peer tutoring. Learning Disability Quarterly, 19(4), 202-215.
Calhoon, M. B., & Fuchs, L. S. (2003). The effects of peer-assisted learning strategies and curriculum-based measurement on the mathematics performance of secondary students with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 24(4), 235-245.
Catlin, K. S., Lewan, G. J., & Perignon, B. J. (1999). Increasing student engagement through goal-setting, cooperative learning & student choice. Unpublished master's action research project, St. Xavier University and IRI/SkyLight, Chicago, IL. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED433100) Retrieved July 16, 2009, from ERIC databse.
Daiute, C., & Dalton, B. (1993). Collaboration between children learning to write: Can novices be masters?Cognition & Instruction, 10(4), 281-333.
Dion, E., Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. S. (2005). Differential effects of peer-assisted learning strategies on students’ social preference and friendship making. Behavioral Disorders, 30(4), 421-429.
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L., Yen, L., McMaster, K., Svenson, E., Yang, N., et al. (2001). Developing first-grade reading fluency through peer mediation. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(2), 90-93.
Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. S. (2005). Peer-assisted learning strategies: Promoting word recognition, fluency, and reading comprehension in young children. The Journal of Special Education, 39(1), 34-44.
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., & Burish, P. (2000). Peer-assisted learning strategies: An evidence-based practice to promote reading achievement. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 15(2), 85-91.
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Mathes, P. G., & Martinez, E. A. (2002). Preliminary evidence on the social standing of students with learning disabilities in PALS and no-PALS classrooms. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 17(4), 205-215.
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Mathes, P. G., & Simmons, D. C. (1997). Peer-assisted learning strategies: Making classrooms more responsive to diversity. American Educational Research Journal, 34(1), 174.
Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., Thompson, A., Svenson, E., Yen, L., Al Otaiba, S., et al. (2001). Peer-assisted learning strategies in reading: Extensions for kindergarten, first grade, and high school. Remedial and Special Education, 22(1), 15-21.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Bentz, J., Phillips, N. B., & Hamlett, C. L. (1994). The nature of student interactions during peer tutoring with and without prior training and experience. American Educational Research Journal, 31(1), 75-103.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Hamlett, C. L., Phillips, N. B., Karns, K., & Dutka, S. (1997). Enhancing students' helping behavior during peer-mediated instruction with conceptual mathematical explanations. The Elementary School Journal, 97(3), 223-249.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., & Karns, K. (2001). Enhancing kindergartners' mathematical development: Effects of peer-assisted learning strategies. The Elementary School Journal, 101(5), 495-510.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Karns, K., Hamlett, C., Katzaroff, M., & Dutka, S. (1998). Comparisons among individual and cooperative performance assessments and other measures of mathematics competence. The Elementary School Journal, 99(1), 23-51.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., & Kazdan, S. (1999). Effects of peer-assisted learning strategies on high school students with serious reading problems. Remedial and Special Education, 20(5), 309-318.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Kazdan, S., & Allen, S. (1999). Effects of peer-assisted learning strategies in reading with and without training in elaborated help giving. The Elementary School Journal, 99(3), 201-219.
Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Kazdan, S., Karns, K., Calhoon, M. B., Hamlett, C. L., et al. (2000). Effects of workgroup structure and size on student productivity during collaborative work on complex tasks. The Elementary School Journal, 100(3), 183-212.
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Harris, K. R., Graham, S., & Mason, L. H. (2006). Improving the writing, knowledge, and motivation of struggling young writers: Effects of self-regulated strategy development with and without peer support. American Educational Research Journal, 43(2), 295-340.
Hock, M. F., Pulvers, K. A., & Deshler, D. D. (2001). The effects of an after-school tutoring program on the academic performance of at-risk students and students with LD. Remedial and Special Education, 22(3), 172-186.
Johnson, D., Maruyama, G., Johnson, R., Nelson, D., & Skon, L. (1981). Effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structures on achievement: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 89(1), 47-62.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (1998). Cooperative learning and social interdependence theory. In R. Tindale, L. Heath, J. Edwards, E. Posavac, F. Bryant & Y. e. a. Suzrez-Balcazar (Eds.), Theory and research on small groups:Social psychological applications to social issues (pp. 9-36). New York: Plenum Press.
Kobayashi, M. (2003). The role of peer support in ESL students' accomplishment of oral academic tasks. Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue Canadienne Des Langues Vivantes, 59(3), 337-369.
Locke, W. R., & Fuchs, L. S. (1995). Effects of peer-mediated reading instruction on the on-task behavior and social interaction of children with behavior disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 3(2), 92-99.
MacArthur, C. A. (1991). Effects of a reciprocal peer revision strategy in special education classrooms. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 6(4), 201-210.
Mathes, P., Howard, J., Allen, S., & Fuchs, D. (1998). Peer-assisted learning strategies for first-grade readers:Responding to the needs of diverse learners. Reading Research Quarterly, 33(1), 62-94.
Mathes, P. G., & Fuchs, L. S. (1993). Peer-mediated reading instruction in special education resource rooms.Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 8(4), 233-243.
McMaster, K. L., Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. S. (2006). Research on peer-assisted learning strategies: The promise and limitations of peer-mediated instruction. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22(1), 5-25.
McMaster, K. N., & Fuchs, D. (2002). Effects of cooperative learning on the academic achievement of students with learning disabilities: An update of tateyama-sniezek's review. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 17(2), 107-117.
Ohta, A. S. (1995). Applying sociocultural theory to an analysis of learner discourse: Learner-learner collaborative interaction in the zone of proximal development. Issues in Applied Linguistics, 6(2), 93-121.
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Phillips, N. B. (1993). Combining classwide curriculum-based measurement and peer tutoring to help general educators provide adaptive education. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 8(3), 148-156.
Phillips, N. B., Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (1994). Effects of classwide curriculum-based measurement and peer tutoring: A collaborative researcher-practitioner interview study. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27(7), 420-434.
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Simmons, D. C. (1994). Importance of instructional complexity and role reciprocity to classwide peer tutoring.Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 9(4), 203-212.
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Scholarly Reviews & Expert Opinions
Agran, M., King-Sears, M. E., Wehmeyer, M. L., & Copeland, S. R. (2003). Teachers’ guide to inclusive practices:Student directed learning. Baltimore, Maryland: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (2000). Building student capacity to work productively during peer-assisted reading activities. In B. M. Taylor, M. F. Graves & P. van den Broek (Eds.), Reading for meaning: Fostering comprehension in the middle grades. (pp. 95–115). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Guthrie, J. T., & Alao, S. (1997). Designing contexts to increase motivations for reading. Educational Psychologist, 32(2), 95-105.
Hall, T. E., & Stegila, A. (2003). Peer-mediated instruction and intervention. Retrieved on May 27, 2009, from http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_peermii.html.
Hall, T. E., Wolfe, P. S., & Bollig, A. A. (2003). The home-to-school notebook: An effective communication strategy for students with severe disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 36(2), 68-73.
Ikan, P. A., & Conderman, G. (1996). Lights, camera, action!: A language arts activity for middle school students.Teaching Exceptional Children, 28(4), 69-71.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1999). Learning together and alone: Cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
MacArthur, C. (1994). Peers + word processing + strategies= A powerful combination for revising student writing.Teaching Exceptional Children, 27(1), 24-29.
Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Researched-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Mastropieri, M. A., Scruggs, T. E., & Graetz, J. E. Reading comprehension instruction for secondary students:Challenges for struggling readers and teachers. Reading Disability Quarterly, 26(1), 103-116.
Onosko, J. J., & Jorgenson, C. M. (1998). Unit and lesson planning in the inclusive classroom: Maximizing learning opportunities for all students. In C. M. Jorgenson (Ed.), Restructuring high schools for all students: Taking inclusion to the next level (pp. 71-105). Baltimore, Maryland: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Powell-Brown, A. (2006). Why can't I just see the movie? Fostering motivation in children who struggle with reading. Intervention in School and Clinic, 42(2), 84-90.
Robinson, D. R., Schofield, J. W., & Steers-Wentzell1, K. L. (2005). Peer and cross-age tutoring in math:Outcomes and their design implications. Educational Psychology Review, 17(4), 327-362.
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Strangman, N. (2002). Collaborative internet projects: An interview with Susan Silverman about her passion and hobby. Reading Online, 5(6). Retrieved on May 27, 2009, from http://www.readingonline.org/articles/voices/silverman/.
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Wright, J., & Cleary, K. S. (2006). Kids in the tutor seat: Building schools’ capacity to help struggling readers through a cross-age peer-tutoring program. Psychology in the Schools, 43(1), 99-107.