Development funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs
Classwide Peer Tutoring
Shown Effective in Spelling Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms
Researchers studying classwide peer tutoring (CWPT) in inclusive classrooms
with students who have mild mental retardation and their general education
peers have found that for both groups, academic achievement and academic
engagement was higher when spelling instruction was delivered using
CWPT than when it was delivered using teacher-led instruction. The study
was funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs and conducted
by researchers and teachers from the Juniper Gardens Children's Project,
Children's Mercy Hospital, and the M.E. Pearson Elementary School in
Kansas City, Kansas.
CWPT involves using a peer to provide instruction to another student
in the class, in a classwide, reciprocal role arrangement. In this study,
the technique was compared to teacher-led instruction in second and
third grade classes by comparing student achievement and engagement
under each of the two conditions. In each of two classrooms, two students
with MMR, a high-achieving nondisabled student, and a low-achieving
nondisabled student were selected, and data was collected under the
teacher-led condition and the CWPT condition.
On weekly spelling tests, seven of the eight students spelled with
more accuracy during CWPT than during teacher-led instruction, and the
eighth student spelled with the same accuracy under both conditions.
Pre-tests of the next week's spelling words were given each week, and
the pre- and post-test gains were analyzed. All of the target students
demonstrated greater average gains during the CWPT condition than under
the teacher-led condition, with the students with MMR and one low-achieving
typical peer demonstrating the greatest gains.
Target students were observed to assess their levels of academic engagement,
and all eight students showed higher rates of academic engagement under
the CWPT condition. A consumer satisfaction questionnaire was administered
to teachers and students at the end of the study. Both teachers reported
that CWPT had academic benefits for their students, and students in
both classes reported positive responses to the CWPT program. The majority
of students reported liking the program, that it helped their spelling,
and most of the typical students reported that the students with MMR
were smarter than they had expected.
For more information about this study, see "Classwide Peer Tutoring:
Teaching Students with Mild Mental Retardation in Inclusive Classrooms"
by Susan L. Mortweet, Cheryl A. Utley, Dale Walker, Harriet L. Dawson,
Joseph C. Delquardi, Shalini S. Reddy, Charles R. Greenwood, Sandy Hamilton,
and Deborah Ledford in Exceptional Children, v. 65, n. 4, Summer
ERIC/OSEP Special Project Page
Back to ERIC EC Menu