Product and process

group at workMany staff are comfortable assessing the product of group work. This is normally a written piece of work that represents the outcome of the group's efforts. The type of marking required to assess a product would be similar to that used on an individual assignment.

Quite different is the assessment of group work process. This is an assessment in how well the students work together in achieving their goal. Assessing group work process, and giving feedback to students on their progress, is necessary if students are to develop collaboration skills. To guarantee that our graduates are able to function collaboratively as professionals and develop Graduate Quality 4, we need to assess group work processes.

It is probably best to have a component of the assessment task contributing to assessing, and giving feedback on collaboration processes. How big that component is depends on the Graduate Quality profile of the course.

For example:

If a 4.5 unit course has a Graduate Quality profile that includes Graduate Quality 4 (collaboration) then it would be reasonable to expect that a proportion of the assessment of that course would be about group work process.

Using the same course as an example, if there is one group work assignment that contributes 40% towards the final assessment, then a proportion of the mark of this assignment should be on the product (eg. GQ 1 and 6) and the rest on group work processes (GQ 4).

The wheel model provides a framework for staff to assess group work processes. It aims to make the components of effective group function, and their interrelationship, transparent to both the student and the assessor.

What can I do to assess group work process?

The table below outlines some ideas for assessment requirements that could be used for evidencing development of collaboration skills

Wheel Group work process Possible assessment requirements
Hub core values, vision and goals.

Require students to submit the agenda and minutes of a meeting, where the core values, shared vision and goals are discussed and the operating agreements, norms and culture of the group are agreed to.

The group needs to submit a statement early in the group work process that outlines their core values, vision and goals (document, web site) and their core operating agreements, norms and culture (document, web site) are described.

The group needs to use a online discussion group (password protected to them) that has an identified thread that is used early in the group work process to discuss and come to a consensus on core values, vision and goals and agree on operating agreements, norms and culture for the group.

Rim operating agreements, norms and culture
Spokes Planning

Students could be required to prepare a group report on how they worked to lengthen their 'spokes'. This might require them to analyse where their group's strengths are, and put in place strategies to address any weaknesses.

Students to prepare an individual report on how they personally contributed to the groups product in relation to the 'spoke' capabilities. They could be required to include quotations from their own posts to the group's online discussion space as evidence on their skill development.

Students can use self assessment. Online surveys, that prompt students to reflect on each of the 'spoke' abilities and plan for their development, can be used early and late in the group work process.

Students use a journal or log book to reflect and self assess their development of these abilities during the group experience. This can be a hard copy where the student must submit the log, or online (a discussion group limited to the student and the teacher). Alternatively the student could be required to provide a summary of their own development in these areas based on, and evidenced by, their records.

Students are asked to use peer assessment where they assess the members of the group for how much each contributed to the group in each of these areas. The grade for each student can be averaged and used to impact on the final grade the individuals get for the product.

Roles and responsibilities
Problem solving
Decision making
Conflict resolution
Tyre Flexibility

The students are required to submit one or more incident reports that illustrate how the group demonstrated their ability to respond effectively to a change in circumstances.


Communication within the group about all aspects of group work

Any of the above assessment tasks can be adapted to require assessment of communication skills

Last modified: Tuesday, 8 September 2015, 3:50 PM