Social benefits of cooperative learning methods in mixed-ability elementary classrooms

Mentor: Alieke van Dijk


In Dutch elementary education, children are placed in age-based mixed-ability classrooms. To attend to different needs of children with different levels of ability, children are often offered ability-specific learning materials. High-ability children, for example, are often attended to individually or outside the regular classroom in so called ‘pull-out classes’. To make sure that children stay socially included in the classroom, it seems important to also put them to work with their other-ability classmates.

Within this project, we will focus on the effects of working in the context of diverse cooperative learning methods on social inclusion/social coherence of children in the mixed-ability classroom. You can choose a specific focus on, for example, high-ability children or children with learning deficiencies.


In this study, we will use sociogram analysis or network analysis to measure social coherence/social inclusion, complemented with self-reports and/or video recordings of the cooperative learning processes. 


  • Förrer, M., Kenter, B., & Veenman, S. (2000). Coöperatief leren in het basisonderwijs [Cooperative learning in prinary education]. Amersfoort: CPS, onderwijsontwikkeling en advies.
  • Slavin, R. E. (2015). Cooperative learning in elementary schools. Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 43, 5-14. doi:10.1080/03004279.2015.963370
  • van Dijk, A.M., Eysink, T.H.S., & de Jong, (in prep). Supporting cooperative dialogue in heterogeneous groups.