Day 3: Assessment and expectations in collaborative learning

Group and collaborative learning

Written by Russell Waldron and Karlene Dickens from ANU Online. This module explores what to consider when setting up assessments for group learning and strategies to support collaborative behaviour.

Australian universities confer degrees for individual performance. Collaborative learning unsettles traditional answers to questions such as: When is collaboration cheating? How much does a student own the output of her team? Can individual grades accurately reflect a students’ ability to collaborate?


(bluebudgie, pixabay, retrieved 1 Mar 18)

The 5 essential elements of mental wellbeing discussed in Day 1 of our Fostering Student Wellbeing course also underpin assessment design. Groupwork aligns neatly here as it can enable positive relationships and create a sense of belonging – although this can be contrary to what students may expect beforehand.

Direct instruction and/or providing students with resources on effective groupwork can be beneficial e.g. see Working in Groups guide from Griffith University.

However, things can go wrong for students in groups – e.g. they make a mistake in front of peers, display ignorance or a commit a social faux pas, or post inappropriate comment in a forum. This can lead to an embarrassing situation relayed rapidly through social media, and potentially harm the reputation of individuals or the group.

Key strategies to support students wellbeing:

  • Create an environment of psychological safety (see Day 2 of this course for a refresher)
  • Be clear with expectations around privacy and confidentiality

Quality of group assessment

(making the pottery, Flickr, retrieved 1 Mar 18)

Both students and teachers may resist group assessment for similar reasons.

We assess in order to evaluate programs, target help for students who need it, give students feedback on strategy and performance, and to justify a credential for each student. For these purposes, assessment of group learning requires some adjustment to concepts of quality.

Reliability. Repeatability becomes less important than adaptability: teams should improve over time.

Validity. Objective procedures or products tell us less about authentic collaboration than shared understanding revealed in interactions.

Equity. Instead of uniform tasks, fair collaboration has individual, relational tasks. Even so, individual performance may be legitimately concealed by good teamwork.

Achievability. Difficulty may depend on unforeseeable logistic factors, so good teams scan for risks, make contingency plans, and need scope to modify their tasks.

Distributing marks

Mark allocation can incentivise different strategic behaviours, for instance:

  • The expectation of equal grades helps to foster trust-building and generous collaboration.
  •  Individual assessment tends to promote competitivity, information-hoarding and contestation. However, it can reduce student anxiety about the academic risk and stress of dealing with “social loafing”.
  • Weighting grades with peer-ratings, via tools such as WebPA, SparkPlus, or CATME, absolves teachers and promotes mutual accountability within the team.

A smorgasboard of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) assessment models

Sentiment scanning 

(cranberry wine, pixabay, retrieved 1 Mar 18)

Each team-member privately posts a reflection about the team progress and function, including an emoji or simple mood-rating. Statistical exceptions (such as severe disparity within a team, lack of variation over time, abrupt unified change, unhappiest teams) highlight a possible need for team mentoring.

🛠 Moodle Feedback module, GoogleForms, SurveyMonkey

Gallery / portfolio

Each group curates a collection of digital works, and each student comments and/or rates items or collections displayed by another group.

🛠 Moodle media collection or Mahara

Team and individual quiz [Video] [Dr C Van Vliet, UNSW]

Individuals complete a 5 minute quiz based on weekly pre-reading, then together with their assigned team in tutorial time, with the highest performing team winning a monetary prize. Quiz scores regularly show that a team is better than every member individually.

🛠  Online quiz

Weighted marking system [Video] [Dr K Wiley, UTS]

During and following a team project, each student answers a questionnaire about their team and peers’ behaviour, then receives a chart of ratings and anonymised comments for themselves and the team. The team discusses the feedback, and a tutor may assist. At the conclusion, the raw grade earned by the team’s product is automatically weighted according to the peer ratings.

🛠  SparkPlus, WebPA

Peer-contributed question bank 

[Dr Paul Denny, Auckland]

Students create topical multiple-choice questions, and answer and discuss questions created by their peers. The final exam includes a selection of high-quality questions, advantaging students who have already answered many of the contributed questions.

🛠  PeerWise or StudentQuiz

Class knowledgebase 

Students edit a wiki-style knowledgebase for their group, and tutors may review and annotate wiki pages to provide guidance and stimulus.  Individual participation can be identified in page history.

🛠  OU Wiki

Calibrated peer review 

Students practice grading sample works until their assessment is accurate, then grade and write feedback on peers’ submissions, and receive aggregated anonymous feedback from peers.

🛠  Calibrated peer review, Moodle Workshop

Project teams 

In the Techlauncher program at ANU, students self-organise multiskilled teams to tackle industry-linked projects. Tutorials and audits provide regular formative assessment and feedback in an Action Learning Cycle.

🛠 Everything! Students select or create the tools they need to develop a solution for a client.

Competitive performance teams 

Each team prepares knowledge, strategy and skills in advance of a competition before an audience of peers and expert judges. Examples include Law mooting competitions and Mock Trials, STEM Olympiads

🛠  Video journal


Each student takes the part of a stakeholder in a simulated social interaction, such as in these examples at ANU and around the world.  (See UOW 2003)

🛠  Zoom, VoiceThread

Final word

Students can love or hate their group experiences. A sense of agency is a big part of fostering a positive group experience. We must also ensure that the collaboration is going to be worthwhile for students, and that the rationale and expectations are explicit.

We can show respect for the students by considering their efforts involved in forming and maintaining groups, and offer them support throughout that process.

Groupwork leverages our social and emotional abilities to extend our cognitive reach. Working in groups can be a profound learning experience for both students and teachers, especially if well designed, well coordinated and well supported throughout the process.

Discussion questions

  • What is your preferred method of assessing collaborative learning or group work?
  • How have you managed any challenging situations that have emerged with groups?

Further resources

We would love to hear from you!

Have you say on this course here.


44 thoughts on “Day 3: Assessment and expectations in collaborative learning

  1. I believe that from the examples given above, that the team and individual quiz method (without a monetary prize) would work really well for group based discussions in tutorials. This provides motivation for students to prepare for the class, and be able to collaborate effectively to share knowledge.

    One time as an undergraduate, we were required to provide grades for each other member in our team – however, this did not work very well as every one, in every group in the class ended up giving each other 100% for the assignment. I think that this can be challenging – While peer marks are usually a good way of making sure group assessment is fair, weighted peer marks can be stressful for students, as they don’t want to negatively influence another students performance in the course. Therefore, I think that written feedback, instead of a weighted grade can be more effective. It can also instruct students on where they are performing well, and not so well in group work.
    Thank you for another interesting day of reading! I had not heard about a lot of these tools before.

    1. Hi Rebecca

      You’ve made an interesting point about the stress of responsibility for another students’ marks. I’m sure that some students feel it a lot more than others. Maybe it depends, too, on what students are grading. The “weighted marks” systems mentioned today (SPARKSplus, CATME) ask for ratings on several behavioural scales.

      Thanks for bringing up collusion. I’d like to suggest that gaming the grading system – whether for marks or out of kindness – may be a *good* sign: it shows intelligence and collaboration which can be harnessed productively once we work out how to reward best practices.



    2. Rebecca, in the class where everyone gave each other 100%, was there some sort of rubric for them to fill in and a requirement to justify the mark, or just a mark? Were the students warned that there were penalties for collusion?

  2. I prefer some thing like the ranking system on Google Forums. The students mark each contribution on a simple scale (such as 0, 1, or 2). The system instantly calculates the average for each student. When I have separately marked the same work my results are within about 10% of the peer marks (with the peer marks being lower).

    The peer marks for ANU Techlauncher go into a bespoke system. The student’s seem generally happy with the result which comes out. But the process can be slow and if challenged as to how a student got a particular mark I would have to say: “I don’t know”.

    There have been challenging problems with ANU Techlauncher groups, where the group has difficulties with the real-world client. I explain to the students that manage the client relationship is an important skill and give suggested techniques. Individual team members not contributing is less of a problem, as the peer marking provides a powerful incentive to work.

    1. Hi Tom,

      Great to hear about your peer-marking experiences with Google Forums and ANU Techlauncher, and how peer marking encourages individuals to contribute more in a team.
      I’d be interested to learn more about the techniques you used with students in how to manage the client relationship – I can imagine that it would be easier for some people than for others.



  3. I’ve mainly used feedback forms and peer review to assess group collaboration and assign weighted marks. For the most part, groups function well but there are always a few groups that suffer from heavy attrition or a difficult student. In those instances, I want to know if the students are all deserving of the same mark or if the group’s overall performance was significantly hindered by one student. I’ve had varied success. I love the idea of using a wiki format to track individual contributions as it’s an unbiased view.

    1. Hi Erin

      Yes, there can definitely be some challenges with managing groups – both on a group and individual level – as well as being able to objectively measure each team member’s contribution.

      Has anyone else here used a wiki format to track individual contributions? Or found other strategies that have worked well?



      1. Karlene, I’ve used OU Wiki’s contribution record to forestall loafing and role-hogging. There’s usually some in the class who facilitate the learning in their team without appearing in the logs. I’ve met with each team very early in a project, showed them the contribution history and asked things like, “It looks like Karlene is doing most of the writing. Is she also doing most of the thinking? Can you support each other by dividing up the work to ensure there is an record of each of you contributing?”



  4. Hi Everyone
    My reaching requires a combination of both individual and collaborative group learning. For the assessments for collaborative work, I have found that a combination of both group and individual assessment to work well. To that end, I prepare 2 assessment tasks – one for the group, and one individual – and I base both tasks on the same set of facts (in this case, a legal matter and the facts are provided by way of a ‘client file with instructions’). I deliberately require the group work to be completed first, and then the individual work to follow. The group assessment is a written task, the individual assessment is a short face-to-face oral assessment with a tutor or convenor. The way the assessment tasks are drafted means that if a group member fails to engage well with the group work, they will struggle with the individual work. My hope was that this would expose those who were trying to get by with doing very little in their groups! So far this is working well, and I have ran this structure 4 or 5 times so far. I accept that this would not suit all subjects of course, however for my teaching I am fortunate that it fits in well.

    1. Hi Tracey,

      Thank you for sharing how you use both group and individual assessments in your teaching – what a great practical example!



    2. Hi Tracey
      Yes, this is how we manage the property transaction as well.
      Similar outcomes for this part of our course also.

  5. Hi

    The tools above look very interesting Particularly like the sound of the peer contributed question banks. I think these could really add value and ownership for students.

    What is your preferred method of assessing collaborative learning or group work?
    Previous experience in this are for me is limited, rather coming from a very business governance based approach to team work and groups. Measuring outcomes and scope by input and KPI’s . IN the unit I’m currently teaching into and a previous unit, I have found my colleague provided and in class exam of which was then marked by the students. They swapped papers and provided feedback and comments based on an answer sheet provided by the lecturer. This worked well and the feedback being provided to each other was constructive and aided in the preparation of the final exam. the feedback from the students taken during the course of the semester was very encouraging surrounding this method which would indicate the benefits of this process.

    How have you managed any challenging situations that have emerged with groups?
    I have participated in the group work activity of presentations and role plays also. This was a difficult experience for me as the real roles of the team were identified and individuals were held accountable rather than coordinating and empowering a team approach. Which probably indicates the development of the team requires some attention prior to assessment of activities in teams/group work.

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for sharing the peer review approach being used in your area – sounds like its working really well!
      You have raised a great point about how team development underpins how well group activities may work – particularly for roleplays which require a high level of trust.



    2. Catherine, the 360-degree appraisal process common in enterprises can be simulated (roughly) in the “Workshop” tool in Moodle: each student receives feedback (rubric and comments) from multiple allocated peers. The peers get marks for providing feedback. Have you tried something like this?


  6. I agree with Rebecca and Erin, and think that some kind of calibrated peer review might work best.
    I also really like Tracey’s idea of giving a mixed individual and group assessment, as I’m not fully convinced that the outlined measures would fully mitigate loafing!

    1. Hi Angela,

      Yes a mixed assessment approach seems like a happy balance for covering more bases and minimising any loafing. Has anyone else used mixed individual and group assessments in their course?



  7. I am aiming to introduce a larger group assignment next semester (which is why I am doing this course). After going through the material in this course and the comments from others I was thinking that my marking may be based on a combination of: (a) the individual’s contribution of content to the group, (b) the individual’s contribution to the functioning of the group (e.g., the quality and timeliness of their peer-review); (c) the group’s overall output; and/or (d) group members’ evaluation of each other.

    1. Hi Phil.

      I’d love to hear more about this project!

      The workload for staff, related to group assignments, can easily become uneconomical. In your plan, the group final output (c) definitely needs staff judgement; and assessment of the individual’s contribution (b) definitely requires input from peers.

      For summative (grade) purposes, staff assessment of the individual’s contribution (a) may be redundant, and group members’ evaluation of each other (d) should normally be based on fairly objective behaviours, already covered in (b).

      In setting up summative assessment of larger projects, early _formative_ feedback on process seems to be crucial.

      Good luck!


  8. My experience is that equal grading generally works well for non-challenging projects. It fosters individual contribution. Students’ feedback is more positive about individual assessment and weighting grades with peer-rating “contribution rate”. But with a single grade I’m afraid the advantages of group study could not be fully realized. The new idea I learned today is the usage of verbal/written feedbacks, both from the lecturer and from peer-review.

    My sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed insightful thoughts during this three-day course.

  9. Wow, there are so many ways we can use to assess group works. Thanks heaps Russell and Karlene for sharing these since I did not know many of these tools. One thing I have been used for students group work is a feedback system which asks each student to critically analyze its own work within the group and evaluate the work by others members. I have seen many students provide feedback genuinely, however, some do not see the importance of having such a system. Up to now, I have not included the feedback system in actual masking process, but I wonder how it can be converted into a weight masking system and make it more reliable one.

    Sometimes I do get complains from students about unfairness in task distributions and assigned tasks are too difficult for them. I first allow students to discuss among themselves and understand what each other’s capabilities are and then divide the tasks again before I involve with anything. I have seen lack of communication among the group members also causing problems. So maintaining a proper communication channel and updating each member about how the tasks are performing and how much need to be completed always help to solve many disputes in groups.

    1. Hi Thilina,

      Yes some students may be unaccustomed to peer feedback, hopefully though over time they will see that it can be a useful part of learning.
      Sounds like you have found good strategies to manage communication breakdowns in groups. I wonder too if your students would find a teamwork checklist helpful – like this one: https://student.unsw.edu.au/groupwork



  10. I would like to use the sentiment scanning, weighted marking system, and peer-contributed question bank for assessing collaborative learning or group work. The first two are useful as it gives group members some privacy to talk about their group performance and dynamics. The third method (peer-contributed question bank) puts students in control as they can contribute to developing the questions that will assess the group performance.

    How have you managed any challenging situations that have emerged with groups?
    I thought a course last year that required group work and collaboration for the entire semester. Groups of four had to work on their own and then after a few weeks had to collaborate with another group of four. So every group had two other groups collaborate with two other groups for a few weeks. In each collaboration, the groups had to play different roles and that seemed quite confusing for many students. As a tutor for that course, I found that students were struggling with keeping up different roles for different interactions. I closely worked with the students to explain the different roles again and again. Then I gave them some name cards with different roles in it that helped them to keep track of whose who in a specific collaborative relationship.

    1. Hi Joyce,

      I love that idea of giving students name/role cards: something physically tangible can have a surprisingly strong impact on concentration and stimulating recall. Thanks for the idea.

      Best regards,


  11. The most challenging situations that have emerged with groups I have worked with are in regards to interpersonal conflicts. This often requires ongoing mentoring and feedback which can be quite time-consuming. Having said this, navigating groups is a lifelong challenge. The more we can assist students in developing the interpersonal skills for group environments early in their careers, the better! Hopefully this will save at least a couple of intergroup conflicts down the track!

    Thank you for meeting with Jules and I on Friday – great to meet in person! Looking forward to meeting again soon to discuss potential SECD opportunities 🙂

    1. Hi Samantha

      Some conflict is almost inevitable: we don’t vet our students, rather we provide a somewhat supported situation for students to rehearse coping with obnoxious, insecure or intolerant peers, if that’s what they get. They deserve some sort of credit for dealing with difficult dynamics: it’s hard to know how to score that!

      Sorry I couldn’t be there on Friday. It was nothing personal. 😉

      Best regards


    2. I agree with you on the challenge of navigating interpersonal conflicts within groups, Samantha. Most of the time, the group works that I set have gone off without a hitch, but there have been times when I stayed on after class to work through tensions within groups. And one time, the rift between group members was too wide that I decided to dissolve the group and give them alternate assignments. Still, I see great value in group work. Students learn from it, but I feel that I do too as a teacher – if only how to plan group work better the next time around!

  12. Thanks for the resources here! Many of those sound really interesting and I will be looking into several I suspect.

    What is your preferred method of assessing collaborative learning or group work?
    I will say ditto, to Catherine’s description of peer-review for a take-home practice exam as I am her partner in crime there : ) Students were required provide written feedback on an number of areas e.g. legibility, flow, ability to be concise, correct answers demonstrating understanding of the concepts etc. I found students were very good at making constructive comments. This meant that students did get some quality feedback prior to the first mid-term exam. Students also fed back that it was great to see how others answered the same questions. There were no names on the papers only student ID, this made a students a lot more comfortable about giving and receiving feedback. The only ‘catch’ was, if they did not do the take-home practice exam they could not participate in the peer-review. They could ‘listen in’ but would not get the benefits of personalized feedback.

    How have you managed any challenging situations that have emerged with groups?
    The most challenging situations I have come across in group work relate to poor communication leading to assumptions, judgement and different expectations. This in some cases led to exclusive behaviours. To manage this I have used regular reminders of group agreed behavior and expectations and also, like Samantha, some groups required more focused mentoring and feedback. In the future I think I will provide more information and resources on effective team work strategies to students to support them on this journey.

    1. Hi Courtney,

      What a well integrated system of peer review! Do you do that on paper or do you have a favoured technology? Workshop (in Moodle), for example, is designed for that process of collecting multiple anonymised peer grading or comments on student work. There is an option for peer review to exclude or include students who did not submit a paper.



  13. I think the weighted marks are the way to do it going forward, I find individual evaluations to be a bit confrontational, but if you leave out evaluation, then free loaders get away with it. Most irritating as a group participant, and as an instructor.

    As you’ve said, I think the key is setting clear expectations for what the group assignment is, and for the group to set clear expectations about what they expect from each other. That tends to work really well, as the rules have been laid out, now it’s up to students to follow them. I was unfamiliar with a lot of the tools you’ve mentioned here, but I will keep them in mind for next group assignments, as I think they are quite clever.

    1. Hi Danny,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Irritation, resentment, anger are emotional work that costs energy of the “virtuous” students. Do slackers just not care? Through interviewing students from troubled groups I’ve concluded that the reasons for “loafing” vary and are infrequently understood by the team. I think a formal pre-defined set of expectations is helpful scaffolding, especially for teams with low insight. High performing teams do the work of continuously adjusting mutual expectations as the circumstances and abilities of team members come into play. (It’s very hard to get that expectation across.)

      Best regards


  14. Hi there,
    I have used role plays to some level of success in group work/assessment. This is coupled with individual learning as well as group learning. The idea usually is that students are individually allocated a role to prepare for, then a group is allocated for them to work with and video the role play. In terms of assessment it is then made up of 3 parts; 1) the group role play, 2) an individual reflection on the process of preparing for their part in the role play, and 3) a reflection on lessons learnt including the process of being involved in the group itself. The role play group size is usually small and in the context of a mock case management meeting or mock therapy/support group with students allocated different parts for example the client, the facilitator (or co-facilitator), and guest presenter on the particular topic.
    I’ve found that by assigning an individual role within a group (that includes an assessed reflection later in the course), that usually this helps reduce ‘loafing’. The challenge I have faced in this method seems to be the pressure students feel (often given the sensitive subject matter that they are role playing) and therefore managing expectations (being clear about all 3 assessments), being available for support and offering students the chance to swap roles (if discussed with me early) help to alleviate some of these concerns.
    This text has been useful for me: Groupwork Practice for Social Workers, Karin Crawford, Marie Price and Bob Price, London, Sage Publications Ltd, 2015.

    1. Hi Iain,

      It’s great to hear from someone using role plays well in a very sensitive subject!

      Thank you for the reference.

      Best regards,


  15. I forgot to also thank Russell and Karlene for another wonderful course. As educators, we can see the amount of work you put into these courses. I think the amount of information and the expected level of input is perfect. I return to them all from time-to-time. Looking forward to the next one!

    1. Thanks Phil for your kind words – its great to hear that they are a useful resource for you!

  16. Sorry for my very tardy post here. I was not aware of any of these great tools. They have really opened my eyes! I have used weighted and individual marking, but because I have never used tools to help with this, the face-to-face version is very confrontational and can become counter-productive. I think the problem with the weighting, and group work in particular, is that it is rarely equitable. As soon as you have students who my be struggling with language or carer commitments or have support needs, the weighting system and peer assessment immediately works against them. Having said that, I think that if expectations are set early and everyone in the group has an understanding of each member’s capacity, then peer assessment can offer really valuable opportunities for development.
    Thanks everyone for the great discussion and Russell and Karlene for the course. 🙂

  17. Thank you for this course, I think there are some great tools here!

    I think your opening line that we give students group work but we confer degrees individually is an interesting one.

    Another interesting point is; although we emphasize “group work” so much and we talk about the importance of being able to work effectively in groups as a graduate learning outcome , we don’t really teach this skill. For the most part we just put students into groups and hope they learn it.

    In a compulsory first year subject I used to teach we actually put students into groups and gave them projects built around big computer games which were naturally interesting to play. Rather than mark the groups on how well they scored in the games we actually asked students to write an individual assignment on how their team performed and why it performed the way it did using the literature on teams, group work and communication. This helped them to actually learn and understand group work both theoretically and practically in an individual manner so they didn’t have to worry about how others performance affected their mark and also helped them perform in groups for the rest of their lives

    1. You’re very right about our not teaching how to work in teams, and your example is very interesting.

  18. I’ve only used assessable group projects in one of my courses. Generally, it went well, and the students enjoyed the process. But one out of 12 groups complained that a member was not contributing. I reminded the class that everybody had to contribute, and I would give different grades to team members if I learnt that contribution was not equal. That solved the problem that time, but it drew my attention to the issue of loafing and made me wonder how many unreported loafers were out there. I like the idea of collecting emojis (or perhaps self- or group-assessments of individuals’ contributions) to encourage accountability.

  19. Both as a student and as a teacher, I manage challenging situations in collaborative settings by trying to prevent the challenges from arising in the first place. In this regard, there are two key points that I constantly remind my classes about. The first is that quality is much more important than quantity. You don’t have to talk the most/take the lead to be a constructive group member. Rather, I encourage my students to be that person who, when they do contribute, everyone else pipes down because they *want* to hear what you have to say. The second key reminder is the importance of mutual respect. Respect each other as fellow humans. We are all students, but we all have different (and, thus, valuable) backgrounds and personal circumstances. So far, these approaches have been adequate at preventing, or dealing with, challenges in collaborative spaces.

    The only instance I have faced where the challenges became unmanageable was when I was part of a team that failed to have basic respect for each other. In that situation, I was forced to seek mediation from the course convenor, who, unfortunately, did not do enough to address the issues within the group. That semester is a constant reminder of how bad group work can become if not managed properly.

  20. I really appreciate the focus in this course on explicitly instructing students on how to do groupwork, what to expect from it, and what they can get out of it. Especially in cases where students are afraid of the risk of loafing students, and poor work bringing their score down, understanding that the intention of the exercise is not just content based would be very comforting and valuable.

    In courses where groups have done assessment, I have used peer assessment mostly — I have posted on the methods I used in those blog posts if anyone is interested. One of the major challenges we had was some students just not replying to their group members emails and requests for contact, which meant that they were unable to start or complete their assignment. In these cases, I found that empathy was the best course and made sure that the students were supported to solve the problems themselves, but also that I was there to fall back on if the first options didn’t work. Of course being empathetic (extensions, guidance, tweaking requirements etc) about the effect this had on their work reduced student stress when something went wrong.

  21. The issues that never fail to come up every time I assign a group work are: complaints about that one member who can’t be reached and does not respond, and complaints about how one member is doing more than the others. I was fortunate to attend a workshop a few years back about monitoring groups and some of the strategies that I learned from that session are actually listed in one of the resources mentioned in this course – https://teaching.unsw.edu.au/facilitating-and-monitoring-group-work.

    This is how I have managed challenging situations that have emerged with groups:
    I have since tried my best to circulate among the groups to get a sense of their progress. It’s really stressful to get involved and it’s so much easier to just wait for the final output. But by doing this, I have helped groups get back on track when they got fixated on bashing that one member who did not do his assignment. I also give more attention to groups who are having difficulties. It’s a difficult act to balance because I want them to learn to resolve their own issues but sometimes even adults need help in articulating the issues they are experiencing. Also, I start monitoring the groups the moment the activity kicks off.

    I never thought of providing my students with resources on effective group work – so this is one major thing that I will move forward with from this lesson.

  22. My preferred method for assessing group collaborative work comes back to individual analysis and reflection, so I’m assessing the student’s awareness of how the work was done (form) and also their understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the final outcome (substance). Its a straightforward way of assessing that makes it possible for a student with a quieter voice or less ‘chutzpah’ to have a fighting chance at doing just as well as the primadonnas. A further thought that I’m very excited about, is the idea raised above of a group wiki. I love this – the idea of students working together on a glossary of terms, which then becomes a tangible output form the course and a future reference tool for students, that was generated by the group (and moderated and edited by teaching staff). I would probably set each student the task of writing 5 entries and then use this as the participation mark, so a pass or fail. Don’t know if this would work and when, but I’d love to try this out soon.

  23. I use a team evaluation assessment at the end of the semester asking students to reflect on strength and weaknesses of key components of teamwork and the models they used to establish good practice. At the end of the evaluation, students complete a short quiz and assess themselves and their team members on group task(s). The assessment includes a grade or mark and a percentage contribution. If grading for any one member show discrepancy of more than ~10% we conduct a team meeting to discuss. Team marks may be adjusted based on the meeting outcome. While this is not a sure fire way to identify or resolve conflict it has resulted in, what is considered by the students, a ‘fair and collaborative’ approach to marking team effort. I would like to try some of the tools suggested though to be able to included peer review earlier in the semester as a proactive and formative rather than summative approach to learning and teamwork.

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