peer tutoring (Scruggs and Osguthorpe, 1986). In cross-age tutoring, an older student tutor serves as “expert” providing instruction to a younger student (Durrer and McLaughlin, 1995; Scruggs and Osguthorpe, 1986). Peer tutoring consists of same-age pairs of students working together (Scruggs and Osguthorpe, 1986).
The effectiveness of cross-age tutoring on academic outcomes for students with ED/BD has been well established by many researchers. A recent synthesis on reading intervention for students with ED/BD revealed that cross-age tutoring was the most distinct practice associated with improved reading outcomes for students with ED/BD (Coleman and Vaughn, 2000). Studies by Maher (1982, 1984) reported that cross-age tutoring in which adolescents with BD tutored elementary students with MR yielded increased academic performance (in social science and mathematics) for both tutors and tutees. Top and Osguthorpe (1987) implemented cross-age tutoring by assigning 4th- to 6th graders with BD as tutors for 1st graders without disabilities in reading. Both tutors and tutees increased their reading performance, and tutors with BD improved their self-esteem as well. Similarly, cross-age tutoring was associated with social gains for students with BD (Scruggs and Osguthorpe, 1986).
The effectiveness of peer tutoring on academic outcomes yields lower effect sizes than cross-age tutoring, but it is a promising practice for students with ED/BD. Adolescents with BD in roles of both tutor and tutee improved their mathematics outcomes after participating in peer tutoring (Franca et al., 1990). Similarly, peer tutoring yielded improved spelling outcomes for adolescents with BD (Stowitschek et al., 1982). Partner reading, which is a component of class-wide peer tutoring, yielded enhanced on-task behavior and positive social interaction for students with ED/BD (Lock and Fuchs, 1995).
6. Motivation to learn, task difficulty, and task persistence influence intervention effectiveness. As early as 1982, Keogh noted that “the organization of curricular content, and the order and sequence of presentation, may have important consequences for children’s accomplishments” (p. 33). Planning instruction around task difficulty to ensure students experience success and persist in learning activities has long been recognized as a critical feature of effective instruction for students with LD (Gersten et al. 1984). In addition, “time on task” has been established as an essential factor linked to improved academic outcomes. However, time on task and persistence with tasks is affected by students’ motivation to learn and their working on tasks that are challenging, meaningful, and within their capabilities. Most of the instructional activities in which students with LD are engaged are at inappropriate levels of task difficulty. Students who experience some successes in school are much more likely to participate actively in