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Testing Teaching Styles

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Finalist Names:
McDonnal, Jennifer (School: Sherman Indian High School)

Americans love to make reforms to education, and our most recent attempt is the new "Common Core," also referred to as "English and Language Arts Standards for Technology, Social Studies, and Science," which places a large emphasis on a student's ability to write well. This means that language arts teachers now have to teach basic writing skills in addition to their grade level curriculum. What is the most efficient way to accomplish this task? This project attempts to address this issue through an exploration of two different teaching styles: collaborative and lecture. To test this, 22 middle school classrooms (572 students) were randomly assigned to one of three groups -- lecture, collaborative, and control -- and each group was exposed to either a certain teaching style or no teaching style (control). After the lesson, each student was tested to determine their knowledge of the topic, and the scores were compared. Though the collaboration group did have a higher percent average than the lecture group, there was not a statistically significant difference, meaning that neither teaching style was more effective than the other. Therefore, the hypothesis that students who work collaboratively will perform significantly better than students who listen to a lecture was not supported.