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Evaluating Group Work

One of the dilemmas faculty often face when assigning group work is how to evaluate the students.

  • Should each student receive her/his own grade?
  • If so, how would I evaluate individuals’ contributions to a collaborative task?
  • Should I grade only the final outcome, thus assigning the same grade to every individual?
  • Should I try to find a balance, assigning some percentage of the grade to the individual and some to the group as a whole?

The best way to evaluate group projects is to find a way to evaluate the individuals as individuals and also the group as a group. Failing to do one or the other fails to hold both the group and the individuals accountable, and is much more likely to cause problems in the course.

The tab box below illustrates how to evaluate the individuals as individuals and also the group as a group.

Individual Grades

Base individual grades partly upon the following criteria:

  • Their individual performance in a final presentation. A "group grade" also can be assigned to this presentation.
  • Peer reviews. Have group members evaluate each other based upon a clear set of criteria. There are forms below that you may download and use as you see fit.
  • A self-evaluation component. Assign a short paper that requires each individual to assess his/her own contributions to the group.

Group Grades

Base group grades upon the following criteria:

  • A final written report. Require that it be written without any way of knowing who wrote what parts, etc.
  • A final oral presentation wherein you evaluate the overall group effectiveness (see above: you can evaluate individuals and the group on this same assignment).
  • Process and progress. Require proposals, group goals, group progress reports, group agendas and minutes, etc. There are forms below that you may download and use for this.
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