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Debating fairness in assessment of student team projects

Donella Caspersz, Judy Skene and Madeline Wu
Organisational and Labour Studies, The University of Western Australia
One of the most frequent criticisms of team projects is how to develop an assessment process which accurately reflects the contribution of individual team members. While 'fairness' is often quoted as a criteria for measuring learning outcomes (Issues of Teaching & Learning, 2002), the challenge in team projects is how to ensure this. Michaelson and Razook (2000) and Michaelson (2002) suggest that keys to effective groups or student teams is to promote individual and group accountability, use assignments that reinforce individual and group work, and adopt practices which provide feedback. Drawing on this and other literature (see Gibbs, 1994; O'Keefe, 2002) as well as research experience of working with student teams between 2001-2002, the aim of this paper is to outline the common problems in developing fair assessment procedures for team projects, and then discuss strategies which may help in redressing these. These strategies fall into three areas: pre-team formation, commitment and monitoring of team performance.


O'Keefe, B. Teamworks Module: Teaching with teams, project of the Team Engineering Collaboratory. http://www.vta.spcomm.uiuc.edu/TWT/twt-ov.html [accessed 19 Nov 2002, verified 13 Jan 2003]

Michaelson, L.K., Fink, L.D. & Knight, A. (1997). Designing effective group activities: Lessons for classroom teaching and faculty development. In D. DeZure (Ed), To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional and Organizational Development. Stillwater, Oklahoma: New Forums. [verified 13 Jan 2003] http://www.ou.edu/idp/teamlearning/docs/TLassignments.pdf

Michaelson, L. & Razook, N. (2000). Making learning groups effective. Selections Magazine, Winter.

Issues of Teaching & Learning (2002). 8(5). http://www.catl.uwa.edu.au/NEWSLETTER/issue0502/ [verified 13 Jan 2003]

Please cite as: Caspersz, D., Skene, J. and Wu, M. (2003). Debating fairness in assessment of student team projects. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/caspersz-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/caspersz-abs.html