Programs that Work
Class Wide Peer Tutoring Program
Children Succeeding in School
Students performing at grade level or meeting state curriculum standards
Age of Child
Middle Childhood (9-12)
Type of Setting
Type of Service
Type of Outcome Addressed
Cognitive Development / School Performance
Evidence Level (What does this mean?)
Class Wide Peer Tutoring (CWPT) was developed during the early 1980s at the Juniper Gardens Children's Project at the University of Kansas, a community-based program devoted to improving the developmental outcomes of children, with or without disabilities, who live in low-income areas. The program addresses both the school and home environments of the children in the program. It is an instructional model based on reciprocal peer tutoring that could be used at any grade level, but has been evaluated primarily for children in kindergarten through sixth grade, with current work being done at the middle school level.
On each Monday during the duration of the program, all participating students are individually pre-tested on that week’s classroom material. After pre-testing, students are paired up and each set of partners is assigned to one of two teams. Partners take turns tutoring each other on their spelling, math, and reading passages, and test each other’s learning comprehension by asking questions based on a recited passage. For every correct answer, a tutee is awarded two points. If an incorrect answer is given, the tutor corrects his or her partner. The partner then receives one point for writing the correct answer three times on a tutoring worksheet. After ten minutes, the partners switch roles. At the end of the daily tutoring session, students report their point totals to the teacher and scores are posted on a Team Point Chart. The team with the most points is announced daily. Team reinforcement is awarded each Friday. CWPT is practiced Monday through Thursday for 30 minutes, including 20 minutes for tutoring and 10 minutes for material preparation. On Friday, students are individually tested on the material presented that week and pre-tested on the material for the upcoming week.
The Class Wide Peer Tutoring program has been used in Grades K through 6. Although developed for regular education students, CWPT has been successfully implemented with learning disabled and educable mentally retarded students. It is now being implemented at the middle school level.
More than 30 evaluations have been done of the Class Wide Peer Tutoring program. The University of Kansas staff and graduate students have conducted most of them, although independent researchers have also evaluated the program. The evaluations have focused primarily on minority inner-city students, although some evaluations have included children from other backgrounds.
Several of the evaluations utilized an experimental design that compares treatment group outcomes to those of a control group. Sample sizes for these experiments have ranged from four to more than 400. Other evaluations compared pre- and post-test scores for children without involving a control group. The largest study compared a treatment group on the low end of the socioeconomic scale to a control group of similar socioeconomic status and to a comparison group that was high on the socioeconomic scale.
Key Evaluation Findings
The various project evaluations found that:
- When students began CWPT in the first grade, by the end of the fourth grade they scored more than 11 percentage points higher than control groups on a nationally standardized test in both reading and math (40 percent versus 29 percent in reading, and 49 percent versus 38 percent in math), after test scores were adjusted for differences between the two groups that were determined in the first grade (for example, measured I.Q.).
- CWPT produced average gains of 12 percentage points on spelling tests among third and fourth graders, with 80 percent of the students receiving grades in the A range (90% and higher).
- Children were 20 to 70 percent more likely to stay on task, remain engaged with their lessons, and respond to the teacher during CWPT than they were before the program.
- On average, first graders tested above the second-grade level on comprehension and vocabulary using the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test, with a class average of second grade, fourth month in comprehension and second grade, seventh month in vocabulary after five months of CWPT.
- An experimental group of children in elementary schools in economically depressed areas performed almost as well as a comparison group of children from higher socioeconomic groups and performed significantly better than a control group of students from other elementary schools in economically depressed areas who did not receive CWPT.
- Any school district or classroom—CWPT can be adapted to any basic program (reading, vocabulary, math, and others) currently being utilized by the district.
- School districts looking to improve their regular classrooms, their resource rooms (such as reading laboratories), and their classroom settings specifically for mildly mentally retarded and behaviorally disturbed students.
- School districts struggling with how to teach regular and mainstreamed students who are in same learning environment.
Juniper Gardens was founded in 1964 and has received continuous funding through competitive research and training grants from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, among others. The training manual (titled Together We Can) is available at a low cost so that classrooms can implement this program with a minimal outlay of funds. For teachers wishing to undergo the Juniper Gardens training program, funding for program materials may be available from their school or district. However, the program probably can be implemented at little or no cost using existing materials.
- Pre-tests on Monday and post-tests on Friday covering the material for the week give an indication of a student’s progress and mastery of skills.
- The program can be implemented with existing oral reading comprehension questions, spelling words, reading workbooks, vocabulary words, math problems, or almost any subject matter.
A curriculum book is available from Juniper Gardens that explains how to group the class into pairs of students, one of whom is the tutor and one of whom is tutored, who work together on competing teams. However, the program could be implemented without the prescribed curriculum fairly easily in any classroom setting.
A Juniper Gardens consultant trains classroom teachers. After teachers are trained, classrooms can implement the program.
Issues to Consider
This program received a “proven” rating. Many controlled experiments have been conducted that demonstrate the effectiveness of Class Wide Peer Tutoring. Most of the experiments have tested the use of the program with minority inner-city students. However, the program has been used with regular education, learning disabled, autistic, and educable mentally retarded students. In all cases, students showed large gains in knowledge as compared with control groups.
The program has been shown to be effective with children as young as first graders and those effects were shown to last for at least three years after students received the training. In addition, the program can be implemented at little or no cost to a school district, so it can be a very useful program for school districts with little funding for extra programs.
Contact Barbara Terry at the University of Kansas for specific example sites.
Barbara Terry, Ph.D.
650 Minnesota Ave, 2nd Floor
Kansas City, KS 66101
phone: (913) 321-3143
fax: (913) 371-8522
One-day or two-day workshops are available through the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project. There are two options: one full-day session with two consultants for $1,500 or one half-day session with two consultants for $800. The training workshops provide instruction on how to implement the program and techniques on how to adapt current material. It is recommended that each participant purchase a copy of the CWPT training manual Together We Can.
The Together We Can manual is available from SOPRIS West for $29.50 at:
P.O. Box 1890
Longmont, CO 80502-1802
Juniper Gardens Children's Project home page can be found at: http://www.jgcp.ku.edu
Delquadri, J., C. R. Greenwood, D. Whorton, J. J., Carta, and R. V. Hall
“Classwide Peer Tutoring”
Exceptional Children, Vol. 52, pp. 535-542, 1986.
Greenwood, C. R., J. Delquadri, and R. V. Hall “Longitudinal Effects of Classwide Peer Tutoring” Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 81, pp. 371-383, 1989.
Heron, T. E., W. L. Heward, N. L. Cooke, and D. S. Hill, Evaluation of Class-Wide Peer Tutoring System: First Graders Teach Each Other Sight Words, Education and Treatment of Children, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 137-152, 1983.
Kohler, F. W., and C. R. Greenwood Effects of Collateral Peer Supportive Behaviors Within the Class-Wide Peer Tutoring Program, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 307-322, 1990.
Sideridis, G. D., C. Utley, C. R. Greenwood, J. Delquadri, et al., Class-wide Peer Tutoring: Effects on the Spelling Performance and Social Interactions of Students with Mild Disabilities and Their Typical Peers in an Integrated Instructional Setting, Journal of Behavioral Education, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 203-212, 1997.