On Fairness of Group Grading
Collaboration is a skill to be learned. Most of us, who has been on this program, has been through at least one difficult experience of working on a team project. Despite the difficulty, major scholars and practitioners in the field of online education emphasize the importance of group activities and the necessity for students to learn how to work as a team. “Collaboration has been the most powerful principle of online course design and delivery” (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p. 257). We’ve come some way from “I win if you lose” individualistic paradigm of competitive learning (Oosterhof, Conrad, & Ely, 2008) to “when I succeed, we succeed” of collaborative teamwork (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p. 157).
How do you assess such important collaborative activities? According to Oosterhof, et al. (2008), instructor might be partially excluded from the team activities and cannot directly observe all what transpires between the team members. What the instructor can objectively judge is the product of the team collaboration. Therefore, most commonly, the project gets graded and that’s the grade that goes to each member’s individual record, despite the differences in the workload and the intensity of participation from member to member. Many consider this practice unfair and think each team member should get two grades – one for group effort and another - for individual work.
Consider the following questions:
- Under what circumstances can the group grading work and be fair?
- If team collaboration is such an important skill and an individual’s success is dependent on the group effort, why not cultivate collaboration by grading identically each team member? Wouldn’t it prompt the team to come up with some original plan for equally involving all members and making it fair for all to receive the well-deserved grade?
- What mechanism, in your opinion will make individual grades based on group collaboration fair?
By Sunday, reply to at least two of your classmates’ postings by asking questions, expanding on their ideas, or suggesting a new solution. Please, don’t forget to cite your sources. Please, see Discussion Rubric for information on what’s expected from your work.Reference:
Oosterhof, A., Conrad, R.-M., & Ely, D. P. (2008). Assessing learners online. Upper Saddle River, NJ: PearsonPalloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.