Group projects should be graded individually

April 23, 2015 — by Stefanie Ting and Eric Sze

To help the slacker or not? When put into mandatory group projects, responsible students are often forced to pull the dead weight of their lazy peers.

To help the slacker or not? When put into mandatory group projects, responsible students are often forced to pull the dead weight of their lazy peers.

It remains a mystery as to why a few teachers still stubbornly clutch to the system of giving group grades on these projects. The practice has major flaws, particularly by inviting those who do not put any effort into their project to continue their mooching behavior.

It is in the best interest for both students and teachers to adopt a grading policy that rewards individual effort on group projects.

Often times, some students, while appearing to participate in a project, contribute subpar work. Consequently, other students in the group are forced to redo that lackluster portion, unnecessarily eating hours out of their day to compensate for a less caring peer. 

Another frustrating aspect of group projects is the student who acts superior to the rest: boasting how he or she will most definitely complete multiple tasks in a timely fashion and with quality.

But when the due date looms near, the work submitted by that student shows little potential, displaying obvious lack of effort. Furthermore, upon being contacted by other group members, the student fails to respond, which burdens his or her peers to desperately clock in hours of work until the first blush of dawn in attempts to drastically increase the quality of their project.

Even so, the worst part of group projects is not the research or even the endless collaboration with the other members, but rather seeing the slacker receive the same grade as actual contributors.

Although some teachers have taken steps to make the grading of group projects fairer, usually by assigning a self/group-assessment rubric to give students an opportunity to provide feedback to the teacher regarding the effort levels of each individual, others still use the archaic method of assigning a single grade for a five- or six-person task.

Giving a single grade for a group project not only results in students despising the assignment itself, but also gives those who slack an advantage over those who fully commit themselves to the task at hand, and an incentive to repeat the parasitic behavior in the future. For their students, teachers who still use the older one grade system should switch to the newer individual grading system, which promotes equality, fairness and good work ethic.

2 views this week