Assessment of learning in reciprocal peer tutoring – synergies of social and subject matter interactions in mathematics and science.

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper/skriftligt oplægForskningpeer review


Teachers in the Nordic countries use pair or groupwork on a regular basis. While doing so is very much supported by contemporary theories of learning, teachers rarely employ explicit systematic peer learning strategies aligned with the taught topics. While teachers put an effort into selecting pairs or groups that will work together productively, they seldom provide systematic guidance as to how the students should cooperate. The aim of this presentation is to briefly present a research project regarding one such system, called SYKL (SYstematisk KLassekammerathjælp) and more comprehensively showcase an assessment of the learning generated during this form of reciprocal peer tutoring.

Theoretical Framework

It is a theoretical hypothesis that profitable peer learning relationships rely on interactions which are related to both social aspects and subject matter aspects (Schmidt, 2017). In this sense we are dealing with a socio-cultural perspective (Wenger, 1999) on learning in which assessment is difficult to reconcile with traditional forms of testing (James, 2006).


The research project reported investigates a 13-week intervention with SYKL reciprocal peer tutoring. It involves 25 Danish primary school teachers, 16 intervention classes and 10 control classes, a total of approx. 570 students from grade 4.

The assessment format has two elements:
1) A pre-post test setup using a written open answer environment for pairs of students combined with an individual dichotomous choice questionnaire.
2) A scheme to quantitatively code video recorded conversational actions during student dialogue.

Expected Results

It is expected that the pre-post setup will be able to assess an increase in mathematics and science competence, as the test items are aligned with the Danish curriculum expressed in terms of competencies (Blomhøj & Jensen, 2007). The coding scheme is expected to unveil changes in the presence of conversational actions, as well as changes in the dynamics of the interaction from the beginning to the end of the intervention.

Relevance to Nordic educational research

External standardised assessment of academic performance through primary and lower secondary schools are not a stable in Nordic school systems, and any educational intervention often must invent their own assessment regime. As much teaching rely on peer interactions it is imperative to explore avenues of assessment considering the collaborative nature of learning in the classrooms.


Blomhøj, M., & Jensen, T. (2007). What’s all the Fuss about Competencies? In W. Blum, P. Galbraith, H.-W. Henn, & M. Niss (Eds.), Modelling and Applications in Mathematics Education (Vol. 10, pp. 45–56). Springer US.
James, M. (2006). Assessment, teaching and theories of learning. In J. Gardner (Ed.), Assesment and Learning (First, pp. 47–60). Sage.
Schmidt, M. C. S. (2017). Klassekammerathjælp - sociofaglig inkludering og ekskluderingsmekanismer. Specialpædagogik, 37(3/4), 85–97.ælp-sociofaglig-inkludering-og-ekskluderingsmekan
Wenger, E. (1999). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge University Press.
Publikationsdato1 jun. 2022
StatusUdgivet - 1 jun. 2022
BegivenhedNERA 2022: Education and involvement in precarious times - University of Iceland, Reykavik, Island
Varighed: 1 jun. 20223 jun. 2022
Konferencens nummer: 2022


KonferenceNERA 2022
LokationUniversity of Iceland