Active/Collaborative Learning Student Teams Integrating Technology Effectively Women and Minorities Assessment and Evaluation EC2000 Emerging Technology Foundation Coalition Curricula Concept Inventories
What are examples of what teachers are doing in the classroom?

Faculty members have been using the Foundation Coalition assessment and evaluation methods. Here are helpful tips from four of them.

Example 1:  , Texas A&M University
Dr. Morgan assigns individual grades based on team effort in a first-year engineering class of 100 students as described below.

  • Use a signature block on all team assignments. A signature means:
    I did my share of the work, and I have a general understanding of the contents of the assignment.
    Students can decline to sign or teams can refuse to let members sign.
    All team members get the same grade on any single assignment, or, if a signature is missing from the assignment, those who do not sign get no credit.
  • Use peer assessment (including anonymous feedback) after each month to allow students to see themselves as others see them and to give an opportunity for improved performance.
  • Use peer evaluation to adjust semester-average team grades for individual students. The average grade on a team is the grade earned (and given) by the instructor.

Example 2:  , Purdue University
Dr. Imbrie utilizes an automated (Web-based) version of the method described in Example 1 for assigning individual grades based on team effort in first-year engineering classes of 180 to 475 students.
Before students do the peer evaluation that will affect the final grade, they are assigned multiple reflective exercises such as

  • How could you have improved your team's performance?
  • How could others on your team have improved your team's performance?

Example 3:  , Texas A&M University
Dr. Kohutek assigns individual grades based on team effort in a first-year engineering class of 100 students as follows:

  • Bonus points are distributed to each student at the end of the semester
  • A student cannot keep any points
  • Points must be distributed in integer amounts
  • Points can be given to any student in the class (based on which student most improved his/her performance this semester)
  • No student can receive more than 10 points
  • Points are applied to the final course grade

Example 4:  , University of Alabama
Dr. Pimmel uses the following process in a senior-level course that includes a monthlong team design project. The course includes several components (essential when using peer evaluation in determining grades):

  • Some training in teams (at least 30 minutes discussing team roles, team dynamics, meeting strategies, and so on).
  • Required weekly progress reports in which each team member individually answers three multiple-choice questions asking if he/she achieved the week's goals, spent adequate time, and worked together as a team. Possible answers translate roughly into "yes," "almost yes," and "no." Students are also asked to indicate any particular problem and to identify any noncontributing individual.
  • Meetings with teams that are making no progress or having problems, including a noncontributing member.
    At the project's end, each team submits a report, and each student completes an individual quiz and an evaluation form asking him/her to distribute the "effort" among the team members on a percentage basis. Students rate each teammate against the rater's expectations for that student, taking into account talent, background, and personal situations. The rater is to be fair and honest, not only because it the right thing to do, but also because, when working as professionals, he/she will evaluate peers; this provides practice for this skill. Percentages given to each student are combined to get an effort score.
  • Scores are simply averaged, or a "figure-skating" process is used (the highest and the lowest scores are dropped before averaging).
    Inconsistent scores are resolved in various ways, based on the professor's personal knowledge of the students, by talking to them, or by giving everyone an equal-effort score.
    From the team report grade, the individual quiz grade, and effort scores, individual report grades and a team quiz grade are computed. The former is obtained by multiplying the team report grade by the individual effort scores and the latter by averaging the individual quiz grades using the effort scores as weighting factors.


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References for further information

  1. Kaufman, D.B., Felder, R.M., and Fuller, H. (2000), "Accounting for Individual Effort in Cooperative Learning Teams," J. Engineering Education, 89(2), 133140.
  2. Van Duzer, E., and McMartin, F. (1999), "Building Better Teamwork Assessments:  A Process for Improving the Validity and Sensitivity of Self/Peer Ratings," Proceedings, ASEE Conference.
  3. Brown, R.W. (1995), "Autorating:  Getting Individual Marks from Team Marks and Enhancing Teamwork," Proceedings, FIE Conference.


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