How do I evaluate teamwork?

Collaborative Learning activities commonly have several goals, including individualized learning, success in the team’s work and having a collaborative product. Since the support of peers in learning the course materials is the responsibility of each of the students involved, collaboration and individual opinion are two of the main assessment requirements in almost all projects. This includes, participating in class, attendance, individual preparation and cooperation, which includes helping others in learning the course materials.

 

An important role for the Professor is observation and monitoring of said groups.

 

By observing these groups of students, allows the professor to understand the quality of interaction within a group and see the progress in particular tasks. When you’ll observe these groups in a classroom setting, look for examples in which students are paying attention, having a serious discussion and progressing towards a common goal through collaboration by each of the members of said team.

Make use of technology to keep track of all the individual or group activities. The use of emails or learning softwares may be used in order to communicate progresses, plans or even decisions to the professor.  Monitoring teams that meet outside of the classroom may be done through drafting a group report in advance, with a list of such meetings, and all documents submitted during the project. Some professors will ask students to submit daily reports in order to verify that the team is fulfilling the work plan and progressing individually and in cooperation with the other team members.

You may assess individually, by team or by having a combination of both.

Students should self-assess their work

Aside from the professor’s assessment, students will be able to self-assess their work and contributions to the rest of the team.

 

For example, after performing a project activity, students are asked to write a list of three things that have been useful to them and one they would like to improve. Students are then encourage to analyze the results of their peers, and not just their personalities, making this a clear effort to identifying the behaviors that may help improve teamwork and what might be weakening the team. This information may be shared among small groups or with the whole class.

 

Students are encouraged to be constructive and communicative, as opposed to judging the behavior of others. The most common responses are:

-“ I think it is useful that Marta is bringing several articles because this helps the flow of the discussion and allows us to have a variety of resources to work with”.

-“I like how Joel writes down all of our comments. They say exactly what I want to say, but in a better way than I say them”.

-“I feel encouraged by the way we talk about certain topics. It makes me feel engaged”.

-I feel frustrated whenever someone comes unprepared” (Enerson, 1997).

 

Students can also submit their lists to the professor, who will analyze this information and share with the rest of the class. The professor may group suggestions for improvement into two categories:

  1. Behaviors for which the professor is responsible
  2. Behaviors for which the students are responsible.

 

You may ask students to fill out self-assessment forms and also assess their peers, thus, distributing points among the team members and writing confidential comments regarding each member’s contribution to the team. The student must self-assess him or herself. A type for evaluation may include items such as leadership, collaboration, communication, work ethic and work quality.

Dr. Robin Eanes for the University of St. Edwards in Austin, Texas, used a type of peer evaluation during the completion of an activity during a class called “Educational Reform in the United States”. This type of evaluation asked students to evaluate aspects of each of the team members, their skills within the group and knowledge of the content in a scale from 0 to 3: unfit, acceptable, good and excellent. Students were assessing themselves following these criteria:

-The ability to express personal opinions and points of view

-The ability to defend your point of view

-The ability not to control a discussion

-The amount of help provided to all the members of your team

-The ability to teach course material to the rest of the team.