Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Early!

As mentioned in last week's blog, this week I am going to focus on effective online group project assessment strategies.
  • Before a group even begins its project, it is important - as the instructor - to point out that there are multiple personalities and perspectives at play in each group.  Therefore, laying everything out on the table as far as group members' expectations and project result desires will help to ease anxieties or concerns. Requiring groups to create Team Charters or sets of rules and expectations will set the stage for effective accountability and assessment later on.
  • Research has shown that effective online group project assessment should be broken down into four areas:  Instructor Assessment of Project; Project Process Assessment; Student Self Assessment; and Peer Assessment.
  • Not all of these areas should be equally weighted, but all areas should be addressed in some capacity.
  • Instructor assessment of project:  Using a pre-developed grading rubric that was originally shared with the group in conjunction with the group project assignment details, the instructor will grade the end group project product.
  • Project Process Assessment:  Using the touch point stages of the project, the instructor will gauge and assess how the group is working holistically and assess the process, once again using a pre-developed grading rubric.
  • Student Self Assessment:  Most effective in the form of a reflection paper, students should individually analyze and evaluate his/her participation in the group process and contribution to the end product.  Each student can individually assign a score to him/herself, but the real grading of this component is the instructor's evaluation of the student's reflection.  Did the student really engage in the reflection process and did he/she exhibit an understanding of his/her strengths and weaknesses in the process?
  • Peer Assessment:  This final phase of the assessment process allows students to use their Team Charter guidelines to evaluate one another on overall group process participation and contribution.  A quick and easy way for students to evaluate one another in this fashion is to assign points to each team member based on his/her evaluation of the Team Charter criteria, then the instructor will average the scores from all team members.  That averaged score will be what is recorded for individual team members in the grade book.  
If you have any questions on any of these assessment strategies, or if you have approaches you have used that have worked well and differ from what is stated above, please share those with me.

Thanks and once again Happy Thanksgiving!
Heather Thomton-Stockman
Online Instructional Specialist

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