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Gender differences in partner interactions during an after -school science peer tutoring program

M. Jo Brei-Crawley, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This teacher research study examined an after-school science program called SSTAR (Science Students Teaching as Resources) to determine if this program encourages early scientific involvement for girls, specifically the investigation of simple machines. ^ SSTAR's overall goal was to develop scientific skills in fourth grade tutors who were partnered with second grade tutees. This study was conducted during two different SSTAR study sessions, identified as the pilot study (year one) and the expanded study (year two). The SSTAR program and the data collection instruments were refined and modified during this two-year process. Four data collection instruments were used to gather data and insights into this program; video-taped interactions between tutor and tutee, a writing assessment, a performance assessment and focus group discussions. ^ The video taped partnership interactions found that tutors used similar instructional strategies and tutees gave similar response strategies. However, these strategies varied according to the gender of the partner. ^ A written assessment, in the form of an open ended question was given to just the tutors at the beginning and end of their session. Additionally, a performance assessment was given. This assessment asked the tutors to construct a machine from the Legos© that were provided. This assessment was also done in a pretest/post-test format. Scores from the writing and performance assessment were then compared and the performance assessment showed more tutor growth in knowledge of simple machines than the writing assessment. ^ Overall students made comments stating they enjoyed the SSTAR program and would sign up again. They had no preference for a same gender or opposite gender partner among either tutor or tutee discussions. ^ All the data examined shows evidence that SSTAR was an effective program for tutor growth in the scientific area of simple machines. While the original study focus was specifically on girls, both genders benefited from the program and all students involved stated they had positive experiences during SSTAR. ^

Subject Area

Education, Elementary|Education, Sciences|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Brei-Crawley, M. Jo, "Gender differences in partner interactions during an after -school science peer tutoring program" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055262.