Implementing Kagan Cooperative Learning Groups To Increase English Language Learner Achievement and Engagement

On any given school day, about seven thousand students drop out of school in the United States. That calculates to be approximately 1 point 3 million students a year that fail to get a high school diploma, thus condemning them to a life that in most instances, promises them lower salaries and a higher incarceration risk ("High School Dropouts in America," n. d.). Each drop out case has its own conditions and circumstances that caused the given individual to drop out of school. Teen pregnancy, marriage, poor grades, a conflicting teacher relationship, and poverty, are all common reasons why students make the decision to leave school early ("The School Dropout Crisis", 2006). Studies show that by middle school, poor academic performance and a lack of motivation, challenges, and engagement are strong predictors of whether or not a student will drop out of high school in the future (Kennelly and Monrad, 2007). For some, being an English Language Learner can also be seen as a predictor. A 2011 California Department of Education News Release cited a 56 point 3 percent graduation rate of English language learners in 2010. That equates to just under half of the potential English language learner graduates dropping out of school. As an educator, I find this drop- out rate among English language learners to be very disturbing, so drastic action needs to be taken to prevent further youth from following the trend. The purpose of this study is to document the effects of Kagan cooperative learning activities on the engagement and academic achievement of English learners of different language proficiency levels, in an elementary school setting.