Using Social Network Analysis to Evaluate Academic Assistance Networks in a Holistic Education Secondary School
One goal of Erdkinder schools is for students and teachers to provide academic assistance to their peers, particularly to less-knowledgeable ones. However, traditional educational evaluations do not provide a means to investigate the exchange of academic help. This study piloted the use of social network analysis to describe academic assistance relationships within a Montessori secondary school. Using a network survey, social network data concerning the exchange of academic help were collected from 23 students and 8 teachers. The results show that while students provide help to both fellow students and teachers, teachers are the main source of assistance for students. In some subjects, a few students and teachers neither provided nor received assistance, indicating another area for improvement. The results of a multiple regression quadratic assignment procedure (multiple regression-QAP) show that for most subjects, their willingness to help others was not significantly influenced by their own personal level of knowledge. Thus, more-knowledgeable individuals do not provide more assistance to less-knowledgeable peers. To adhere to Erdkinder principles, this school should encourage more-knowledgeable students to recognize their responsibility to help others and to actually help those who need support. This pilot yielded valuable information, and social network analysis warrants further study within holistic education.
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