Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

The Nexus between the Above-Average Effect and Cooperative Learning in the Classroom

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

The Nexus between the Above-Average Effect and Cooperative Learning in the Classroom

Article excerpt

The present study examines the above-average effect (Chambers & Windschitl, 2004; Moore & Small, 2007) in assessments of task performance. Participants completed self-estimates of performance and group estimates of performance, before and after completing a task. Participants completed a task individually and in groups. Groups were self-selected by participants, or randomly assigned by the researchers. Previous research examined the above-average effect in performance self-estimates for individuals, but little has been done examining the above-average effect in group performance. Results indicated robust above-average effects for both individual and group estimates of performance, and these effects were not limited by group type. Furthermore, above-average effects were observed for estimates of performance both before and after completion of the task, suggesting that participants were not more accurate in their post-task estimates. In addition to these data, results of a group-work survey administered to participants are disseminated, suggesting some practical applications for group work in the college classroom setting.

The Nexus between the Above-Average Effect and Cooperative Learning in the Classroom

Instructors often hear students express the belief that their own academic performance is superior relative to their peers. In fact, there is a body of literature diat describes the general tendency for individuals to overestimate skills, abilities, and/or personal attributes as compared to ottiers within a variety of contexts (Moore & Small, 2007). This phenomenon is often referred to as the above-average (or better than average) effect (Chambers & Windschiti, 2004; Moore & Small, 2007; Hamamura, Heine, & Takemoto, 2007; Kanten & Teigen, 2008).

There are numerous reasons why students may hold above-average beliefs regarding their academic performance. One explanation is that individuals are motivated to selfenhance, or believe they are better than the average person because it serves as a protective factor by promoting successful coping and personal wellbeing (Chambers & Windschitl, 2004; Taylor & Brown, 1988). Other researchers describe above-average effects as differentially weighted selfevaluations without meaningful comparison to the referent other (Chambers & WindschitL 2004; Klar & Guadi, 1999). Still other research suggests that above-average effects are influenced by differing amounts of comparative information available to those making evaluative judgments (Moore & Small, 2007). With more information about self, individuals make more informed estimates of their performance. With less information about others, individuals make comparative judgments based on their estimates of average group performance. These estimates, in the absence of diagnostic information (such as the performance abilities of others) are posited to be at least partially responsible for the aboveaverage effect (Moore & Small, 2007).

It is important for educators to consider the potential positive and negative implications of the above-average effect in the classroom setting specifically. One potential benefit for educators and parents would be if the above-average effect positively influences self-esteem. Research indicates that individuals with high self-esteem tend to report being happier (Baumesiter, Campbell, Krueger, & Vohs, 2003). Another educationally relevant benefit involves the connection between having high self-efficacy and the types of academic challenges that a student would be willing to attempt and the amount of effort they are willing to exert in those tasks (Bandura, 1989). Obviously, there are also instances where the above-average effect could potentially be problematic. The most troubling outcome might be that the high, self-regard could result in increased narcissism. Narcissists tend to respond negatively when their ideas or behaviors are questioned (Rhodewalt & Morf, 1998). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.