We conducted a meta-analysis to test the impacts of one active learning teaching strategy, group work, on student performance by calculating estimates across 91 studies from 53 articles. Our overall estimate indicates that the implementation of group work in biology classrooms increased student performance by 1.00 standard deviation, which we contextualized as a change greater than one letter grade. Moderator analyses revealed that this increase in performance held across all group sizes, class sizes, biology and life science majors and nonmajors, and whether the groups were assigned by the instructor. However, we did not observe increased performance in graduate level courses, in cases where group work was incorporated for only part of the course term (e.g., less than a semester or quarter) or when the group work was not graded. These results demonstrate that group work leads to impressive boosts in student performance and underscores the value of studying specific active learning strategies.

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