Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Maralee Mayberry, Ph.D.


Education, Teaching techniques, Social psychology, Peer-learning, Pedagogy


This study, using a quasi-experimental research design, investigates connections between pedagogy and social psychology by applying social psychological theories of group work and interaction to collaborative learning, a current trend in pedagogical techniques. It was hypothesized that by creating a setting in which students would be evaluated based in part on the performance of their peers would improve their individual performance. The incentive (a percentage of their grade) would hypothetically motivate students to teach their peers effectively; thus they would be taking a vested-interest role in becoming a co-teacher to their partner. This study was implemented by examining two sections of Introduction to Sociology which were taught concurrently and in exactly the same manner, with the only difference between the classes being the vested-interest feature present in the experimental class and absent from the control class. While this technique was determined not to have any statistical significance on the students' final grades, it did indicate that other factors involved in group work and collaborative learning might influence student outcomes or perceived student outcomes. Students in the experimental course exhibited more signs of anxiety about their grades, expressed more concern about their partners' abilities, and gave the instructor significantly lower ratings than the control class. However, students in the experimental class also came to class more often. These findings may indicate that placing a grade on group work, while effective in encouraging attendance, does not significantly alter the output of the group. Instead, this increased pressure about partners' performance may diminish the effectiveness of the group as students tend to see that the performance of their partners as outside of their own control.