Group projects – you either love them or hate them, right?
As a student, I absolutely hated group projects. I was one of the nerdy kids that was always striving for an A and felt like I was put into groups with people that did not care as much as I did. Therefore, I ended up doing about 90% of the group project – mostly because of my own high standards. I always viewed the requirements of a project as the minimum expectations, whereas many students viewed it as the requirements for a good grade. Neither of us was right or wrong but it was simply how my brain operated. (Maybe it still operates that way…!) Therefore, I always had this feeling of frustration or anxiety when group projects were assigned because I felt like many students were not carrying their own weight. Again, sometimes that was the case and other times it was my own expectations being slightly unrealistic.
As a teacher, I have really come to love group projects. I have found that this type of collaboration is beneficial for all students, whether they are your high achievers or struggling students. Many high achieving students don’t work well in groups, so it is an incredibly important process for them to go through to learn how to successfully work with others in their future careers. For struggling students, group projects can be beneficial by helping them to find their voice and get support from their peers. While I think we can all agree that group projects can be very beneficial to our students, the same question always arises:
How do we hold all students in the group accountable?
This can be a tricky question. Obviously, we don’t want to promote any sort of “tattle telling” if a student is not working with others in their group project. After all, this could lead to feelings of discouragement, frustration, or possibly bullying. However, we do want to hold them accountable for their roles in the project.
To help with this, I developed the following Google Form:
Click HERE for your own copy.
At the beginning of the survey, students are required to share about their involvement, roles, and accomplishments within the group project. After they evaluate themselves, they will share about the involvement, roles, and accomplishments of their fellow group members. In addition to this, there are also sentence frames to help students write their evaluations.
A few quick tips:
- Spend time discussing the difference between objective/subjective evaluations before they fill out the survey. Encourage students to write statements such as “I observed…” rather than “Jack did not…” Encourage students to use the sentence frames to help them maintain their objectivity.
- Encourage students to be detailed in their evaluations because collaboration will be a part of their final evaluation.
- As the teacher, spend time comparing their evaluations to the other group members, as well as your own observations from class. By the end of the project, you should have a strong feeling about which students were working well together, as well as which students were not.
Overall, I think it is important to note that the “Group Participation Survey” is simply one part of the evaluation process but it does help to maintain accountability. Remember to record your own observations and be actively involved with the groups to ensure that everyone is meeting their goals.
How do you create accountability during group projects? Share your ideas below!