Strong Evidence Exists for Partner Learning. Are you taking advantage?: Take the Quiz

The U.S. government's Institute of Education Sciences says there is strong evidence that peer-assisted learning (i.e. student pairs working together) is an effective tool for teaching literacy to English Language Learners.  Are you or the teachers your supervise taking advantage of this research-based practice for language learning?  Take the quiz and find out!

Take the quiz: Give 3 points if your answer is "always"; 2 points if your answer is "sometimes"; and 1 point if your answer is "rarely".  Add up your total.


26-30 points You are using partner-work in effective ways so that students can thoughtfully practice content and language you've introduced.  You give students the tools they need to learn with a partner on a wide-range of skills that you have already taught.  Keep up the great work!

21-25 points Students in your classroom are getting some opportunities to practice content and language you've introduced but they may be unclear on how to work with their partners and what to say when they are stuck.  You've got a good start on peer-assisted learning, but you need to add some structure, consistency, and new ideas into this part of your teaching.

10-20 points Although you may carefully think about what language and content to teach your students, you need to give them more opportunities to practice what you've introduced.  Make sure you teach them how to work in pairs and that their work in sufficiently structured with clear goals made explicit to them. Start with simple Pair-Shares. There's lot's of ideas in the chart to get you going.


Research-Based Strategy Suggested Teaching Tip Suggested Materials
I include peer-assisted learning opportunities in all subjects (e.g. reading, writing, oral language, other language, mathematics, science etc.) Partner Transcription in Math
I use peer-assisted learning for all of these: whole class instruction, for practice, and during small group lessons. I Am (with a partner)
My students work with peers in structured learning activities for about 90 or more minutes per week. Human Bar Graph
I typically pair up students for peer work by different levels of English proficiency or different reading level. Partnering for Success                                            
I designate roles for each partner during peer activities. Match It!
I design peer activities to be quick and well-paced—typically 10 minutes or less. Partner Comprehension
I design peer activities to have expected products or ways to document learning progress. Illustrate It!
I model how students are expected to carry out peer learning by: demonstrating lesson tasks; providing written directions for partner roles; modelling academic language responses; rehearsing partners via demonstration; monitoring student responses. Giving Clear Directions
I teach students language phrases that are helpful for prompting (e.g. ways to ask for clarification). Sentence Frames
I teach students language phrases that are helpful for providing feedback (e.g. phrases for offering suggestions). Reading a Poem

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


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