Group Work and Learner Achievement in Reading Comprehension in Public Primary Schools in Nairobi

  • Elizabeth Asewe Oluoch University of Nairobi
  • Paul A. Odundo University of Nairobi
  • Ruth W. Kahiga University of Nairobi
Keywords: Brainstorming concepts, discussing themes, group work, monitoring reading, task-based learning, questioning reading.


Group work supports employment of instructional competencies by refining understanding through discussing themes, questioning reading, and brainstorming themes for accelerated learning. However, where teaching abilities are ineffectively arranged, meaningful teamwork and deep collaboration may be compromised lowering achievement. The study examined effect of group work in instructional skills on learner achievement in comprehension. Positivist and constructivist schools of thought shaped the study. The study was quasi experimental involving Solomon Four Group Design which combines pre-test post-test and post-test only. The study targeted all teachers and learners in public primary schools in Nairobi County. Within the schools, 223 standard 7 learners were assigned to experimental while 253 to control groups and 8 teachers of English. Reading comprehension tests, questionnaires, in-class observation and follow up discussion sessions were used in capturing data. Learners in experimental group obtained post-test mean of 33.47 (SD=15.55); control group obtained mean of 26.82 (SD=12.76), indicating that experimental scored highly in post-test than control group, not exposed to task-based learning method. The analysis obtained t-statistic of 3.24 (df=428, p=0.001), suggesting up to 99% chance that mean obtained by learners in experimental and control groups were significantly different. In addition, variable school was significantly associated with learning outcomes in comprehending text (p<0.000).  Analysis revealed up to 90% chance that learner achievement in reading comprehension significantly associated with sharing concepts (X2 =15.243, df=9, p-value=0.084), 99% chance that learner achievement in reading comprehension is significantly associated with monitoring reading (X2 =26.694, df=9, p-value=0.002) and 99% chance that learner achievement in reading comprehension is closely associated with explaining themes (X2 =24.883, df=9, p-value=0.003). Multivariate analysis revealed that discussing themes and monitoring reading caused the greatest improvement in achievement in reading comprehension in experimental and control groups respectively (B=0.348, Beta=0.286. p<.001; B=0.167, Beta=0.180, p<.008. The study suggested that teachers should engage learners in collaborative activities to build confidence in reading for sustained learning.