Assessing the Group Instead of Individuals

iStock.com/ProfessionalStudioImages
iStock.com/ProfessionalStudioImages
Students often avoid discussing how they’re working together in a group, especially if the subject is the group’s effectiveness. I think we sometimes forget how uncomfortable group work makes students feel. They do all sorts of things with each other socially, but those activities don’t usually involve work. Completing tasks collectively requires divvying up the work, figuring out who’s doing what, setting deadlines, and dealing with members who don’t deliver. Peers in groups don’t have power to make things happen like teachers do. It’s often a new experience for students who worry (some excessively) about being liked by their peers. Mix grades into the scenario, and the stakes move skyward.

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