Classwide Peer Tutoring: The "Standard" Program

What is ClassWide Peer Tutoring (CWPT)?

ClassWide Peer Tutoring (CWPT) is a time tested, research proven, effective program that enhances the acquisition of academic skills. The traditional CWPT program is a systematic and fun instructional strategy that actively engages an entire classroom of students at the same time. CWPT is a comprehensive procedure that is based on reciprocal peer tutoring and group reinforcement to accelerate the process of learning and practicing basic academic skills.

How can CWPT help your students?

The CWPT program can help all students by doubling and in some cases tripling the amount of time students are involved with and can directly practice the learning task that is being taught. CWPT has been proven effective and is commonly listed as one of the "best practices" in education.

Who can benefit from CWPT?

The CWPT program was originally developed and used with special education students in their mainstream classrooms. It was very evident early on that the procedures were not only effective for the targeted students, but for the entire classroom of students regardless of their ability levels. Thus, CWPT has been researched and proven effective with the following student populations:

  • Students with special needs
  • Educationally labeled students
  • Students at risk of school failure
  • Students who are culturally and linguistically diverse
  • Students with ADD and ADHD
  • Students from pre-school to high school age levels and beyond

How is CWPT different from other traditional classroom instruction?

In traditional classroom instruction, the teacher is the main content delivery person, and the basic content delivery system is through teacher lecture and passive student learning and exposure. In a CWPT classroom, the students become the content delivery persons for one another, an active multi-modality delivery system drives the one-to-one practice sessions, and students are provided with numerous opportunities to respond directly with the content being learned. CWPT provides:

  • One-to-one student pairs to teach and help each other learn.
  • An opportunity for students to earn points and be reinforced for learning.
  • A systematic game format that promotes self-improvement and enhances both class competition and social skills.
  • An immediate feedback system that attempts to achieve "errorless" learning.
  • Routine assessment evaluations to monitor and maintain both class and individual academic gains and progress.

What are the benefits of CWPT?

CWPT benefits for the classroom teacher include (but are not limited to):

  • Access to a research proven instruction strategy that increases academic achievement,
  • An opportunity to visually and verbally monitor and evaluate student academic progress immediately as it happens,
  • Implementation of an effective academic procedure to provide instruction to all students at the same time; developing content to remediate individual deficits, whether for higher, average, or lower ability students,
  • Being immediately available to provide feedback and assistance to all student pairs,
  • Less time being devoted to student off-task behaviors,
  • Increased opportunities for incidental teaching based on student's needs,
  • More positive teacher/student verbal interactions, and
  • A rare opportunity to see students being excited about learning.

CWPT benefits for students include (but are not limited to):

  • Significantly increased "opportunities to respond" and student participation in all academic skill areas,
  • Close learning "coaching" with immediate error correction and positive feedback from both the classroom teacher and their peer partner,
  • Improved achievement scores, gains, and academic successes,
  • A learning strategy that taps into the various learning styles or modalities to process academic information via their strongest learning modality,
  • Increased opportunities for positive social/academic interactions with the classroom teacher and other student peers,
  • Being aware of their individual progress and achievements,
  • Increased "on-task" behaviors, and
  • A fun way and great opportunity to become excited about learning in all subject areas.

How can CWPT be used?

CWPT is so flexible, adaptable, and so dependable that it can be used with and in any academic subject or content area including:

  • Reading and comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Math
  • Language Arts
  • Geography/History
  • Sciences
  • Any and every content area

CWPT lends itself most easily to content subject areas that are rote learning in nature, but it only takes a minimal additional effort on the part of the teacher to convert higher- level thinking process subject matter into a tutoring format for their students.

Where can you find more information about CWPT?

Research Articles

Delquadri, J.C., Greenwood, C.R., Stretton, K., & Hall, R.V. (1983). The peer
tutoring spelling game: A classroom procedure for increasing opportunity to 
respond and spelling performance. Education and Treatment of Children, 
6(3), 225-239. 
Fuchs, D. & Fuchs, L.S. (1997). Peer-assisted learning strategies: Making
classrooms more responsive to diversity. American EducationResearch 
Journal, 34(1), 174-206. 
Greenwood, C.R. (1991). Longitudinal analysis of time, engagement, and
achievement in at-risk versus non-risk students. Exceptional Children, 57(6), 
Greenwood, C.R., Terry, B., Arreaga-Mayer, C., & Finney, R. (1992). The
classwide peer tutoring program: Implementation factors moderating 
students' achievement. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25(1), 101-

Juniper Gardens Children's Project 

The CWPT program was developed and refined at the Juniper Gardens Children's Project in Kansas City, Kansas. 

Sopris West Publishing Company 
Sopris West publishes the CWPT program implementation manual and charts called Together We Can.

Current Practice Alerts
This document is from a new publication series for practitioners and parents entitled Current Practice Alerts. Each issue in the series will provide its readers access to an objective, independent, and authoritative review of what is known about a current or emerging practice intended for individuals with learning disabilities. The CWPT program is reviewed within this series. 

The Promising Practices Network

The Promising Practices Network (PPN) web site highlights programs and practices that credible research indicates are effective in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families. The information pertains to children from the prenatal period to age 18, as well as the families and communities in which they live. This site provides useful information to decision makers, practitioners, and program funders who must choose among many possibilities for improving results for children, youth, and families. An overview of CWPT is provided on this site.