Group work unfair?

Although collaborating in groups is a common way of working and to be able to do it well is an important skill, students often argue that group assessment is unfair. “We did all the work and Chris did nothing but still gets the same mark us. How is that fair?”

I was introduced to WebPA at a recent Netskills session in Oxford on the Learner Experience. It’s a tool for allowing students to assess how well their peers have worked on a particular group task.

There were three reasons for producing the tool –

  • Assigning one mark to a group of students for a project is inherently unfair. Students commonly complain that their contributions are not being given the credit they deserve, and group members who didn’t pull their weight receive the same marks as those who contributed far more.
  • It allows academics to better grade a student’s abilities against a range of key skills that will be expected to demonstrate as graduates, such as leadership, communication, report writing, etc.
  • Peer review prompts students to reflect and assess their own abilities, as well of those of their team mates.

The designers give the following augments for using WebPA –

For academics WebPA:

  • is easy to setup, run and reuse computerised assessments
  • gives the ability to handle large class and group sizes, as well as any length of assessment form
  • calculates final grade automatically, the ability to change the way the scoring algorithm works and view the results immediately
  • provides improved accuracy of the assessment marking
  • as there is a reduced risk of transcribing errors and a reduced risk of errors being introduced when manipulating data in spreadsheets

For students WebPA:

  • provides assessments that can be taken at any time from any where
  • allows time to be taken to consider submissions, as well as the opportunity go back and alter the scores until satisfied
  • allows anonymous submissions

Using the system was very easy and you can adjust the weight given to the student mark from 1 to 100%. Looks potentially very useful.

Download an Introduction to WebPA

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