Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Case Study of Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies among Eleventh Grade Students
by Breece, Michael E., Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2012, 164; 3536306
Abstract (Summary)

Although reading is a vital component of academic, career, and social success, the majority of adolescents struggle to read proficiently. As a result, there has been increased attention on reading instruction for older adolescents and on what programs, methods, and tools are highly effective in improving their reading achievement. Since motivation and interest are important elements for successful learning, it is meaningful to explore these elements in relation to reading instruction. The purpose of this case study was to explore and understand how 11th-grade students at a comprehensive technical high school perceived Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) in order to support educators at Bucks County Technical High School (BCTHS) make informed decisions in their mission to improve students' reading skills. At BCTHS, the PALS program is conducted in the 11th-grade Foundations Language Arts classes. Using a case study design, four teachers, including the researcher, conducted observations and interviews using 37 students within 2 of the 4 Foundations Language Arts classes. Students reported and observations confirmed that students perceived PALS positively. Partner reading and incentives fostered a high level of engagement, focus, and changes in self-perception. There was little evidence, however, that there was an increase in students' desire and interest to read. Results suggest that partner reading could be a positive experience for high school students, although the level of benefit and enjoyment depends on the level of interest, motivation, and ability of the partner. In addition, even though intrinsic motivation is ideal, educators should not ignore other types of motivation. Finally, it was concluded that reciprocal peer tutoring had a positive effect on students' self-perceptions and was a meaningful form of student-centered instruction. It is recommended that administrators at BCTHS examine student reading scores as additional data to determine PALS effectiveness and consider ways to increase students' intrinsic motivation. Further studies on why high school students decrease in their motivation to read and of PALS at the high school level are also recommended.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kaczmarek, Eve
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Secondary education, Literacy, Reading instruction
Keywords: Peer tutoring, Peer-assisted learning, Reciprocal teaching
Publication Number: 3536306
ISBN: 978-1-267-93690-5
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