Achieving Higher Levels of Success for A.D.H.D. Students Working in Collaborative Groups

By Simplicio, Joseph S. C. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, September 2007 | Go to article overview

Achieving Higher Levels of Success for A.D.H.D. Students Working in Collaborative Groups


Simplicio, Joseph S. C., Journal of Instructional Psychology


This article explores a new and innovative strategy for helping students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (A.D.H.D.) achieve higher levels of academic success when working in collaborative groups. Since the research indicates that students with this disorder often have difficulty in maintaining their concentration this strategy is designed to help these students better focus on their responsibilities. In turn, it is hoped that they will be more successful in completing their assignments. The rationale of the strategy centers on developing alternative methodologies of assigning tasks to A.D.H.D. students working in collaborative groups. Although no single paradigm will guarantee success for all A.D.H.D. students, this strategy affords teachers the opportunity to help their students move toward achieving their potential.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better know as A.D.H.D. "... is a diagnostic label that we have given children ... who have significant problems in four main areas of their lives: inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, boredom" (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Information Library, 2006). Although the disorder affects only about 5% of the children in the United States, these four simple words have permanently changed the landscape of education. As teachers can attest, these students have proven to be a real challenge in the everyday classroom. School s have tried to tackle the effects of this condition with a variety of approaches ranging from behavior modification to medication. The results have been mixed. What works for one student is often ineffective for another. The result is frustration on the part of both the student and the teacher as well as a pattern of inconsistent student academic achievement. For school districts across the country the reality is that no real viable strategies have proven consistently successful in combating this growing concern.

One major manifestation of this disorder is the fact that students diagnosed with A.D.H.D. often have difficulty in maintaining their focus over a long period of time. As a result, they have problems when trying to complete assigned tasks. This is quite evident in collaborative group work efforts. In group work students are given specific tasks to complete. To be successful all the students in the group must learn to work together to accomplish specific tasks in order to reach set goals and successfully complete the assignment. A.D.H.D. students often lack the sustained focus to contribute meaningfully to these efforts.

A viable alternative solution to this dilemma is to alter the strategy of how tasks are assigned to A.D.H.D. students within these groups. Instead of placing the A.D.H.D. student in one particular group, it would be more beneficial to rotate that student between several groups, giving the student one specific task to accomplish throughout all the various different groups. The assigned task can be as simple as distributing or gathering materials or spot checking to make sure everyone in the group understands the directions. Eventually, as the student gets better at mastering increasing more difficult tasks, more complex ones, such as keeping others on track or translating one specific idea throughout all the groups can be assigned. …

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