Individual characteristics and children's learning in large-group and small-group approaches

Penelope L. Peterson*, Terence C. Janicki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Investigated aptitude-treatment interactions (ATI) in 100 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-grade students learning in large-group and small-group teaching approaches. Each of 2 elementary teachers taught a 2-wk fractions unit to 2 classes of randomly assigned Ss. Each class received only 1 approach. Students completed aptitude measures (Raven Progressive Matrices and Sequential Test of Educational Progress, Series II) at the beginning of the study and achievement, attitude, and retention measures (including the Intellectual Achievement Responsibility Questionnaire, the Math Anxiety Scale, and a test of attitudes towards math) at the end. Regression analyses showed significant ATI for preference for approach and for ability. Students who initially preferred small groups actually did worse in that approach than in the large-group approach. High-ability Ss and low-ability Ss did better and had more positive attitudes in the small-group and large-group approaches, respectively. High-ability Ss benefited by "teaching" their peers in the small group. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-687
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 1979


  • academic ability &
  • attitudes &
  • preferences for large vs small group study, academic achievement &
  • retention, 4th-6th graders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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