Ryan Meier

Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Paper

Superseded Degree Name

Master Of Arts In Special Education

Colleges & School

College Of Education And Leadership

First Advisor

Sister Gabrielle Kowalski, O.S.F.

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Group work in education; Individualized instruction; Academic achievement; Awards


The purpose of this study was to use a competitive structure with extrinsic rewards (gift cards) to discover if students competing in cooperative groups or competing individually would achieve higher posttest percentages. The study asked whether a student working as an individual in a competitive structure learned and retained more than a student working in a cooperative learning group in a competitive structure. If a teacher wants to ensure retention of content, will having students work in cooperative groups be more effective than individual learning? If students truly learn from each other, will a student in cooperative group learn more? Or, if students are asked to work individually and are responsible for each component of an activity or project, will they learn more by having done each component themselves? The answers are important for teachers. The use of incentives adds another element to the classroom dynamic. Do teams work better than individuals? This study sought to find the effects of tangible incentives as they related to performance of cooperative groups versus performance of individual students.


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