Creative Education
2013. Vol.4, No.2, 98-100
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Effect of Cooperative Learning on Secondary School
Students’ Mathematics Achievement
Effandi Zakaria1, Titi Solfitri2, Yusoff Daud1, Zulkarnain Zainal Abidin2
1Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia
2Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universiti Riau, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
Received November 22nd, 2012; revised December 27th, 2012; accepted January 6th, 2013
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of cooperative learning on students’ mathematics
achievement in secondary school students in Pekanbaru, Indonesia. In addition, this study also determined
students’ perception concerning cooperative learning. The samples of this study consisted of 61 Form
Three students. In order to control the differences of dependent variables, a pre-test was given before
treatment. After treatment, a post-test was administered to both groups. Two types of instruments were
used to collect the data: the mathematics achievement test and open-ended questions on cooperative
learning. The pre-test and the post-test data were analyzed using t-test. Content analysis was used for the
open-ended questions on cooperative learning. The results showed that there was a significant difference
of mean in students’ mathematics achievement between the cooperative group and the traditional group.
Content analysis data revealed that students in the cooperative group were able to increase their under-
standing and to develop their self-confidence.
Keywords: Mathematics Achievement; Jigsaw Cooperative Learning; Understanding; Self-Confidence
Mathematics is still a subject that is considered difficult and
boring to many students. According to Woodard (2004), weaker
students feel anxiety toward mathematics, and this anxiety af-
fects their performance in mathematics. Students who lack
mastery in mathematics are less successful, despite being in
secondary schools for a long period of time. Furthermore, low
proficiency students in mathematics performed below average
on the national tests in Indonesia. Based on observations of
high school mathematics students, the information shows that
students are not actively involved in developing knowledge;
they receive information passively and are less motivated. This
passivity has caused much concern among educators because
knowledge of mathematics plays a significant role in enhancing
the country’s social economic development. The quality of
education that teachers provide to students is dependent upon
what teachers do in their classroom (Zakaria & Iksan, 2007).
The teaching method used in the class is one of the factors that
make students become passive and have less interaction with
each other in doing tasks. Lazarowitz, Hertz-Lazarowitz, and
Baird (1994) have criticized the lecture method use by teachers
because only hardworking students can benefit from it. There-
fore, to enhance the understanding of mathematics, students
must be more active in the classroom and must creatively ac-
quire knowledge, especially in understanding and solving
mathematical problems. Students should be given the opportu-
nities to develop, to interact, and to share with friends through
cooperative learning activity. Thus, the cognitive and affective
development of students in mathematics can be improved. An
alternative method for the delivery of material is cooperative
learning. Zakaria and Iksan (2007) agree that in cooperative
learning students work face to face to complete a given task
collectively. Cooperative learning encourages students to be
active participants in the construction of their own knowledge
(Webb, Troper, & Fall, 1995). Cooperative learning also en-
courages students to interact and to communicate with peers in
harmony. In this way, cooperative learning promotes values
such as honesty, cooperation, mutual respect, responsibility,
tolerance, and willing to sacrifice a consensus. Execution of
duties in cooperative learning can develop self-confidence in
pupils. A study by Zakaria, Chin, and Daud (2010) found that
cooperative learning improves students’ achievement in mathe-
matics. Further, cooperative learning is an effective approach
that mathematics teachers need to incorporate into their teach-
ing. Cooperative learning promotes deep learning of materials
and helps students to achieve better grades (Shimazoe & Al-
drich, 2010). According to Johnson and Johnson (1989), in
cooperative learning, students tend to enjoy mathematics, and
this enjoyment motivates them to learn. Melihan and Sirri
(2011) concluded that the cooperative learning method is more
effective than the traditional teaching method in the academic
success of students.
Purpose and Objectives of the Study
The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of jig-
saw cooperative learning on achievement in mathematics. In
addition, this study also looks at students’ perceptions of jigsaw
cooperative learning. The specific objectives of this study are as
follows: 1) to determine whether there is a statistically signifi-
cant difference in mathematics achievement between students
taught using jigsaw cooperative methods and students taught
using traditional methods and 2) to determine the perceptions
of students when they are exposed to jigsaw cooperative learn-
Hypothesis of the Study
The following null hypothesis was tested.
H01—There is no significant difference in mathematics
achievement between students who are exposed to jigsaw co-
operative learning and those who are exposed to traditional
The design of this study is a quasi-experiment consisting of
treatment group and a control group, since the classes existed as
intact groups. Pre-tests were used to determine the equality of
the two groups. This study consisted of 61 students, divided
into two groups consisting of 30 students in the control group
and 31 students in the treatment group. Treatment groups were
exposed to jigsaw cooperative learning, while the control group
was given the traditional teaching method. The teacher who
implemented the jigsaw cooperative learning underwent train-
ing on the use of cooperative learning in order to ensure that it
was implemented as planned. Upon completion of instruction,
post-tests were conducted to determine the difference between
the groups. Instruments used in this study were mathematics
achievement tests and students’ perceptions of jigsaw coopera-
tive learning. Mathematics achievement is measured using per-
formance test tools. The test consists of six open-ended ques-
tions and twelve multiple-choice items. The reliability coeffi-
cient (KR20) of the test was found to be 0.81. The researchers
in collaboration with mathematics teachers developed the ques-
tions. The questions cover integrals, area, and volume. The
content of the tests was validated by a group of experts in
mathematics education. This test was given to both groups be-
fore and after instruction was completed. A questionnaire was
used to measure the students’ perception towards cooperative
learning. It contained five open-ended questions given to stu-
dents who were exposed to cooperative learning methods. Con-
tent analysis was used to determine the response of students
towards jigsaw cooperative learning. For this study, the re-
sponse categories were developed as follows: 1) develop and
label codes related to question; 2) record the results coded ac-
cording to question; 3) incorporate the pattern into a single
category; 4) determine the number of response categories com-
bined; and 5) form tables and analysis. The conditions under
which the instrument was administered were kept as similar as
possible in order to control for interaction between selection
and instrument (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2003).
Analysis of Students’ Mathematics Achievement
Students in the experimental group had a mean score of 9.65
with a standard deviation of 5.58. Students in the control group
had a mean score of 9.97 with a standard deviation of 6.10. The
t-test yielded a score of .215 with 59 degrees of freedom, and
the differences were not statistically significant. The results of
the t-test are displayed in Table 1. Because there was no sig-
nificant difference between the groups on the pre-test scores, it
was possible to assess the difference between groups on the
post-test by means of a t-test.
As shown in Table 2, having performed t-test, there was a
statistically significant difference in the mean of mathematics
achievement of students across the experimental groups and
Table 1.
Pre-test analysis of differences in mathematics achievement between
the two groups.
MeanStd. deviation df t-valuep-value
Experimental9.65 5.58 59 .215 .831
Control 9.97 6.10
Table 2.
Post-test analysis of differences in mathematics achievement between
the two groups.
MeanStd. deviation Df t-valuep-value
Experimental55.19 11.62 59 2.245 .029
Control 47.4715.10
control group at the alpha level of .05. Therefore, the null hy-
pothesis was rejected. It can be concluded that the mathematics
achievement of students through jigsaw cooperative learning
was better than mathematics achievement of students undergo-
ing traditional instruction.
Analysis of Students’ Perception of Cooperative
Table 3 presents the response of the respondents regarding
cooperative learning. Students were asked to express their
opinions about whether they liked their experience in jigsaw
cooperative learning or not regarding and to state the reasons
why. For those who preferred cooperative learning, the re-
sponses given by most students were being able to discuss and
to exchange ideas with friends without fear (26.1%), the idea
that students can make friends and ask questions (23.2%), en-
joying learning in groups (13.2%), more quickly understanding
when a friend gave an explanation (10.7%), and not being
afraid if an error occurred (10.3%), and being enthusiastic and
motivated (7.5%).
As shown in Table 4, the highest response was that jigsaw
cooperative learning can enhance the students’ understanding
of the lessons learned, followed by the idea that cooperative
learning raises their self-confidence and increases their motiva-
tion. The students also felt that cooperative learning improved
their academic performance, created sense of togetherness
among them, and gave them freedom to give opinions.
Effects of Cooperative Learning on Mathematics
The results of this study indicate that cooperative learning
methods result in higher mathematics achievement than the
traditional teaching methods. A probable reason is that, when
students explain and receive explanations from each other in
group, they retain the new concepts much longer in their mem-
ory. They better understand what they have learned and there-
fore improve their performance. The cooperative approach has
the element of accountability and interdependence embedded in
a structure that is not found in the traditional classroom. This
study supports the findings conducted by Zakaria et al. (2010)
and Melihan and Sirri (2011). The positive impact produced by
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Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Table 3.
Perception of students’ on jigsaw cooperative learning.
Response Frequency (percent)
Can discuss and exchange views with
friends without fear 26.1
Can make friends and ask questions 23.2
Enjoy learning in a group 13.2
More quickly understand when a friend explain 10.7
Not afraid if an error occurred 10.3
Enthusiastic and motivated 7.5
Do not like to learn in group 2.5
Do not understand because they
cannot communicate 2.3
Discussion not focused 2.2
Friends do not want to help 2.0
Table 4.
Effect of cooperative learning on students.
Response Frequency (percent)
Enhance understanding 59.3
Raises confidence 15.6
Increase motivation 8.3
Improve academic performance 7.0
Sense of togetherness 6.4
Free to give opinion 3.4
cooperative learning shows the importance of student interac-
tion as proposed by Vygotsky and Piaget.
Student Perceptions towards Jigsaw Cooperative
The results showed that students prefer jigsaw cooperative
learning. The percentage of students who prefer cooperative
learning is higher than the percentage of students who do not
like cooperative learning. The students in the study perceived
that cooperative learning was beneficial to them. In short, they
were willing to help and to cooperate with each other and to
promote each other’s learning. These attitudes help to build
group identity and create an environment conducive to learning
(Slavin, 1996). However, it should be noted that some students
preferred not to work in group, meaning that cooperative learn-
ing is not for everyone (Arra, D’Antonio, & D’Antonio, 2011).
Teachers should be aware of students’ preferences in learning.
The results reveal that cooperative learning can increase
mathematics achievement. Cooperative learning also enhances
understanding and self-confidence. These results would imply
that incorporating cooperative learning in the mathematics
classroom would enhance the learning of mathematics in sec-
ondary schools. Implementation of jigsaw cooperative learning
should be reviewed in terms of knowledge and skills of each
teacher. In this case, training and continuous professional de-
velopment is needed for teachers, and collaboration among
teachers should be encouraged through holding regular meet-
ings, both formal and informal. Teachers can learn from each
other and can examine the strengths and weaknesses of the
instruction that has been implemented, and their experience can
be shared with each other to produce better work.
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