Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 59–77 | Cite as

Assessment of Cooperative Learning: A Goal-Criterion Approach

  • Vernon A. Quarstein
  • Polly A. Peterson


The problem of assessment of non-traditional teaching techniques has long challenged educational administrators and faculty. The approach to assessment that we followed in this instance employed a model that we developed to assess group learning, variously known as cooperative learning, collaborative learning, or team learning. We applied the model to group-based case study courses that included innovative enhancements such as group exams and group-based role-play. The model required balanced representation among multiple learning criteria arranged in six goal-criterion sets, all drawn from the literature on group learning. We designed a test instrument based on the model and administered the instrument to 85 students near the end of three business strategy courses. Imbalances among criteria in the six goal-criterion sets helped identify and correct weaknesses in course design and in methods of instruction.

cooperative learning enhancements teams assessment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Astin, A. (1993). What matters in college: Four critical years revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-BassGoogle Scholar
  2. Bloom, B. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York: David McKay, Inc.Google Scholar
  3. Bouton, C., & Garth, R. (1983). in Learning in groups. New directions for teaching and Learning, no. 14. San Francisco: Jossey-BassGoogle Scholar
  4. Cooper, J. M., & McNegney, R. F. (1995). Introduction: The value of cases in teacher education. In M. Cooper (Ed.), Teachers' problem solving:Acasebook of award winning teaching cases (pp. 1–10). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  5. Duch, B. (1997). Problems: A key factor in PBL, Center for Teaching Effectiveness, University of Delaware, [].Google Scholar
  6. Felder, R. M. (1998). A longitudinal study of engineering student performance and retention: Comparison with traditionally taught students. Journal of Engineering Education. 97, 469–480.Google Scholar
  7. Felder, R. M., & Brent, R. (1994). Cooperative learning in technical courses: Procedures, pitfalls, and payoffs. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service Report No. ED 377038)Google Scholar
  8. Goodsell, A., Maher, M,. & Tinto, V. (1993). Collaborative learning and teaching styles in college science education, Journal of College Science Teaching, 23, 286–290.Google Scholar
  9. Herried, C. F. (1994). Case studies in science–A novel method of science education. Journal of College Science Teaching. 2, 221–229.Google Scholar
  10. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson F. (2000). Joining together: Group theory and skills. (7th ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  11. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1983). The socialization and achievement crisis: Are cooperative learning experiences the solution? In L. Bickman, (Ed.). Applied social psychology annual. (pp. 119–164) Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (1991). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, Nr.4. Washington, DC: George Washington University.Google Scholar
  13. Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (1994). Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity. NTLF, ERIC-Higher Education Report. Washington, DC: George Washington University.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (1998). Active learning: Cooperation in the college classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Co.Google Scholar
  15. McKeachie, W, (1999). Teaching tips (10th ed.). MA: Heath and Co.Google Scholar
  16. McNergney, R. F., Herbert, J. A., & Ford, R. D. (1993). Anatomy of a team case competition. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  17. Mennecke, B., Hoffer, J., & Wynne, B. (1992). The implications of group development and history for group support systems: Theory and practice. Small Group Research. 23, 524–572.Google Scholar
  18. Michaelsen, L. (1992). Team learning: A comprehensive approach for harnessing the power of small groups in higher education. In D. Wulff & J. Nyquist, (Eds.), To improve the academy 11 (pp. 107–122). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.Google Scholar
  19. Millis, B. J., & Cottel, P. G., Jr. (1998). Cooperative learning for higher education faculty, Phoenix: Oryx Press.Google Scholar
  20. Peterson, P. A., & Quarstein, V. A. (2001). Assessment of case study courses. Quality Assurance in Education, 9-2, 46–53.Google Scholar
  21. Quarstein, V. A., & McAfee, R. B. (1993). Teaching business strategy and policy using a multiple-role-play technique. Journal of Management Education, 17-2, 185–196.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vernon A. Quarstein
    • 1
  • Polly A. Peterson
    • 2
  1. 1.Saint Leo UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Diagnostic and Therapy Services DepartmentThe Virginia School of the Deaf, Blind and MultidisabledUSA

Personalised recommendations