Heterogeneity in Classes: Cooperative Problem-Solving Activities through Cooperative Learning

Cigdemoglu C., Kapusuz K. Y., Kara A.

Croatian Journal of Education-Hrvatski Casopis za Odgoj i obrazovanje, vol.16, no.4, pp.999-1029, 2014 (SSCI) identifier identifier


Teachers, from primary schools to college, experience challenges regarding both increased class sizes and a greater diversity of students having a broad spectrum of abilities, interests, needs, and goals. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of cooperative learning through Cooperative Problem-Solving (CPS) activities on homogenous and heterogeneous grouping in an engineering course. As a mixed method design, the study utilized both quantitative and qualitative data. The participants, 47 engineering students selected conveniently, were enrolled in a communication systems course. The analysis of the quantitative data indicated that no significant difference (p=.791) exists between the ways in which the students in homogenous and the students in heterogeneous group understand communication systems. In order to reveal the perceptions of students regarding the implementation, they were interviewed at the end of the semester. The qualitative data obtained from these interviews suggests that students prefer heterogeneous to homogenous grouping. The findings also imply that further research should concentrate on heterogeneous grouping strategies and more detailed qualitative data in order to reveal what kind of patterns emerge from students' interactions in different groupings.