Effect of peer-led team learning (PLTL) on student achievement, attitude, and self-concept in college general chemistry in randomized and quasi experimental designs

Julia Y. K. Chan and Christopher F. Bauer

This study investigated exam achievement and affective characteristics of students in general chemistry in a fully-randomized experimental design, contrasting Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) participation with a control group balanced for time-on-task and study activity. This study population included two independent first-semester courses with enrollments of about 600. Achievement was measured by scores on exams written by an instructor blind to student participation. Established instruments were used to assess changes in attitude to chemistry and self-concept as a chemistry learner. No differences were found in achievement, attitude, or self-concept for students who participated in PLTL vs. those who participated in documented alternative study activities. Overall, certain aspects of attitude and self-concept showed a slight but significant decline from beginning to end of semester, consistent with previous studies. Males have higher positive attitude and self-concept than females, and first-year students have higher positive attitude, self-concept, and achievement than non first-year students. In a quasi-experimental comparison of 10 other course sections over seven years, students who self-selected into PLTL showed stronger exam achievement than those who did not choose to participate. These findings suggest that past reports of improved student performance with PLTL may in part be a consequence of attracting students who are already motivated to take advantage of its value.



Ethnographic performance: a change agent for drama teaching and learning

R. Sallis

This article considers the ways in which an ethnographic performance can be an effective means of data generation, analysis and presentation for a researcher working in collaboration with drama teachers and students in an educational setting. The creation of the ethnodramatic play was part of a three-year Ph.D. educational ethnography conducted by the researcher in the Drama department of an inner-city co-educational government school in Melbourne, Australia. The researcher mapped the development of the play including how the drama teachers and their students collaborated on its development by providing feedback as it was being written and performed. The topic of the play was boys’ participation in drama in a co-educational learning environment, how they ‘performed’ gender in the classes and how this affected, and was affected by, the drama teachers, the female students and other males in the class. The article examines how the development of the ethnodramatic play was a transformative experience for the school community. The ethnodramatic process affected a change for the better in the work habits of the teachers and how some of their students viewed their participation in the drama classes.


All gender is a performance, all performance gendered

Kathleen Gallagher

Reading the full Research in Drama Education (RiDE) themed edition on Gender and Sexuality, at one go as I have done, makes for an especially interesting experience. One gets an immediate sense of the expanse of the terrain as well as, in this case, an unanticipated coherence across vastly different geographic, cultural and institutional landscapes and theatre practices. There is shared theoretical language – a queer, feminist, post-structural language – introduced by the editors and followed through by several contributing authors. There is also a reflexivity shared by many of the writers contemplating the work they have observed, or engaged in, across both the developed articles and shorter accounts of practice/performance that come at the end of the issue. In these pages, gender and sexuality seemed no longer a special, abstruse ‘lens’, but rather a way of uncovering the scripts of the everyday and our own deep implications in them.


Becoming (less) scientific: A longitudinal study of students’ identity work from elementary to middle school science

Heidi B. Carlone, Catherine M. Scott, Cassi Lowder

Students’ declining science interest in middle school is often attributed to psychological factors like shifts of motivational values, decrease in self-efficacy, or doubts about the utility of schooling in general. This paper adds to accounts of the middle school science problem through an ethnographic, longitudinal case study of three diverse students’ identity work from fourth- to sixth-grade school science. Classroom observations and interviews are used as primary data sources to examine: (1) the cultural and structural aspects of the fourth- and sixth-grade classrooms, including the celebrated subject positions, that enabled and constrained students’ identity work as science learners; (2) the nature of students’ identity work, including their positioning related to the celebrated subject positions within and across fourth- and sixth-grade science; and (3) the ways race, class, and gender figured into students’ identity work and positioning. In fourth-grade, all experienced excellent science pedagogy and performed themselves as scientifically competent and engaged learners who recognized themselves and got recognized by others as scientific. By sixth-grade, their identity work in school science became dramatically less scientific. Celebrated subject positions did not demand scientific thinking or robust engagement in scientific practices and were heavily mediated by race, class, and gender. Our results highlight three insights related to the middle school problem: (1) when students’ social identity work was leveraged in service of robust science learning, their affiliation increased; (2) academic success in school science did not equate to affiliation or deep engagement with science; and (3) race, class, and gender figured into students’ successes in, threats to, and identity work related to becoming scientific. We end the article by providing a framework and questions that teachers, teacher educators, and researchers might use to design and evaluate the equity of science education learning spaces.