Dear Colleagues,

Even though it is the end of the quarter and your hearts and minds are on the closure of winter quarter, I thought I would post a support for your spring quarter courses.  We are often asked how to assess group work.

Cherry blossoms and OSU Memorial UnionCreating equitable work groups is an issue, as you know, of great importance. “Effective collaboration” is not only an institutional outcome it is authentic preparation for life.

Students figure out rather quickly that we assess what we value. Clearly preface group work by outlining the importance of, practicing and mastering, effective collaborative skills; explain it is necessary preparation for the world of work and citizenry.  Clearly outline expectations:  you expect equitable work and the group will be “graded accordingly.”

In this case, collaborative participation must be a percentage of the grade: the success of the group must count towards each individual’s final grade. (This encourages commitment to equity…unless there is a significant emergency of one group member, group members are required to figure out how to collaborate as a group.  This is not really an issue with today’s technology).

Provide the students with the Collaboration and Equity Rubric: tell them clearly that each person will independently and confidentially evaluating their group’s performance using the rubric as the metric.  Explain you will collect the evaluations at the completion of the task. (There are a number of ways to ensure individuals’ responses remain confidential; Canvas is an option as students can post without others seeing their work.)

Please note, according to the rubric students’ assessments require data for evaluation of the group’s performance; if someone is identified  by group members as someone who didn’t contribute equitably, that individual receives a lower rating that the rest of the group members. Do not assign the group a grade; always grade collaboration skills on an individual basis.  If your class is small enough you can evaluate your students’ participation levels in class; those who are not contributing can be encourages and supported by you (during the quarter) in the improvement of their collaborative skills.

When we directly clarify expectations and evaluate them, it communicates we value the skill necessary for full citizenry and the world of work.

The Collaboration and Equity Rubric is for your use, reflection and revision.

Have a great break!

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