Fix 6: Don’t include group scores in grade, use only individual achievement evidence.
I have to say, I am not looking ahead in the book, but I’m a little bit proud of myself. I haven’t actually got to try out any new fix or strategy yet; so far I do all of the fixes Ken suggests for broken grades. Doesn’t make for a very interesting read though, so I’m feeling the need to comment on each fix anyways. When we have group assignments I do not include group scores in the students grade, only their individual achievements. Not to fear, I’m on top of this one already.
I think group assignments are important; we are a collaborative species, and when scaffolded properly, students teaching themselves and/or their peers is much more powerful than having the only adult in the room “download” their wisdom. However I can empathize with the assessment piece when it comes to group work, as every group has the potential to have a “Hannah” (aka the student that cares about grades and does a great job in spite of the group) and each group also seems to end up having a student that contributes little to no work and is there for social hour.
With group work I think I do what most teachers do, in that I track who contributes what, and blend the actual scores (based on a rubric) of teacher, self and peer evaluation. That said, I am also not afraid to go with what my gut tells me, and have a one-on-one conversation with a student to see what they actually know and can demonstrate with or without the powerpoint, poster etc. their group completed. For group work, if you can set high standards and create a culture of collaboration and curiosity, the actual score at the end of the project is just for accountability. Fair is not equal, so trust your professional judgement and give the students an individual grade that is honest and, hopefully, encourages them to continue working towards bigger and better things as they advance through your program and high school.