Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
This study compared a cooperative learning method of teaching English to Prathom (grade) 6 secondary students in Thailand and a communicative method. Rasch-generated linear scales were created to measure reading comprehension (based on 28 items with 300 students) and attitude and behaviour to learning EFL (based on 24 items with 300 students). The data for both scales had a good fit to a Rasch measurement model, good separation of measures compared to the errors, good targeting, and the response categories were answered consistently and logically, so that valid inferences could be drawn. Ninety students from three secondary schools in Ratchaburi, Thailand, were assigned randomly to an experimental group (N=48) taught using a cooperative learning method and a control group (N=48) taught by a Thai communicative method. Pretest and posttest measures were administered and mean differences were tested for significance using ANOVA (SPSS). It was found that: (1) students improved their English reading comprehension under the cooperative learning method significantly more than under the Thai communicative method; (2) Students improved their attitude and behaviour towards learning EFL significantly more under the cooperative learning method than under the Thai communicative method of teaching.