4.3 Individual assessment in a group setting
According to rules at many universities, students must be graded based on their individual knowledge and skills, even though they are conducting their work in a team. There are many ways for students as individuals to share how well they have reached the ILOs of the course. In the section on formative and summative assessment above, the example from Lightweight/Naval design shows how each student writes a one page summary where they discuss and show their own learning progression in relation to each ILO of the course. This type of written assignment is quite common, and can be extended to individual reports or portfolios.
Assessing each individual’s level of achievement of the course ILOs can also be carried out orally. During the project course, this can be carried out formatively by creating cross-groups, so that one student from each team meets members from the other teams and present their work. Summatively, on the final presentation, this is also feasible, by for instance giving each student a specific area to discuss and present during the final oral session, independently. You might want topics to be “all programming we used in our project”, “the methods we used and why”, “how our knowledge in Mathematics have helped us”, “how to search and collect appropriate information”. By assigning topics to each individual quite late in the process, you can help them stay aware that they will need to understand the complete process.
An Example of individual assessment in a group setting from Degree Project in Biotechnology: In this course, there were assessment criteria from the start, but individual criteria have been added to secure the assessment of students on an individual basis. Hence, the assessment criteria are now both on group level and on individual level. The group level criteria are: process; engineering-related and scientific content; and written presentation. The individual level criteria are: individual activity; oral presentation; individual reflection; and individual opposition. For example, the criteria Engineering-related and scientific content is assessed in the written report, the oral presentation as well as during the meetings with the supervisor. The criteria aligns with the following ILOs: 1. Apply knowledge and skills acquired during the studies on issues in biotechnology, 2. Formulate and attack a technical problem by applying the relevant methodology, and 3. Identify the need for further knowledge and continually develop the skills through advanced studies in a specific field.
As we have a team of supervisors, they form an evaluation committee in which the grading process is discussed. Still, the evaluation and grading process is challenging and you have to keep discussing the process with students and supervisors.
Example of assessment in the course Open Lab with students from several universities: This course is offered in cooperation between several universities. The students are mixed in trans-disciplinary teams, though each university has its own course, rules and regulations. Hence, each university has its own assessment procedure which means that students in the same team will be assessed to somewhat different rules.
Suggestion: If you are supposed to grade the students on individual basis, when formulating the assessment criteria, make sure you state criteria both on group level and on individual level. Clarify the criteria to the students in the beginning of the course