Groupwork: Assessment

How can contributions to a group be assessed?

If it is a programme aim that students should work in groups, then you should think about assessing this skill explicitly. In other words, you may wish to assess the process of arriving at the final outcome as well as the outcome itself.

The University of Melbourne suggests that some or all of the following might be assessed:

  • regular meeting attendance
  • equity of contribution
  • evidence of cooperative behaviour
  • appropriate time and task management
  • application of creative problem solving
  • use of a range of working methods
  • appropriate level of engagement with task
  • development of professional competencies
  • evidence of capacity to listen
  • responsiveness to feedback/criticism.

You will need to look at the learning outcomes for the unit and for the programme, and at the standard assessment criteria for the programme (if any), to decide how you might assess any of all of the factors on that list within the assignment.

This is an area where students often feel badly treated with many variations on the theme of “I did all the work and [so and so] did nothing and got the same grade as me” appearing in evaluations of group work.

The University of Melbourne guide to group work covers the available options very well.

Some form of self or peer assessment which contributes to the final mark may help to counter perceived unfairness in a group mark. An example of the implementation of group assessment sheets can be found in Heathfield, M. 1999. These sheets require students to self-assess their contributions to the groups using five indicators:

  • Regular attendance at group meetings
  • Contribution of ideas for the task
  • Researching, analysing and preparing material for the task
  • Contribution to cooperative group processes
  • Supporting and encouraging group members
  • Practical contribution to the end product


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