As previously advised on Teche, a new assessment policy is set to launch on 1 July 2021. A number of policies have been merged to a new assessment policy and accompanying procedures. The new policy will apply to assessments offered in Session 2 2021.
This the first in a series of posts that will provide guidance notes to each of the changes. The first one gaining attention is the changes to group work.
The change includes a shift from applying weighting limits on group marking from the task level to the unit level.
a) The removal of the previous requirement that each group work task was to have an individual component (Old policy: “At least 50% of group work assessment shall be allocated to individual performance”).
b) The introduction of a new clause (25) in the assessment procedure that states at least seventy per cent (70%) of the total available mark for a *unit* must be attributable to individual student performance. This means that group task component(s) weighted 30% or less of a *unit* can be assessed as a group and assigned a group mark. Group work that is weighted at more then 30% a unit will need to have a portion of marks attributable to individual performance such that no more than 30% of the unit total is comprised of a ‘group mark’.
What staff need to do to get ready
The strategy depends on the current status of group work in a unit. Check your group assessments and adjust accordingly.
a) If a unit had a group work component(s) that are 60% or less of a unit AND half (or more) of the marks in that group task was attributed to individuals, then this will still be compliant with the new policy. This is because a total of no more than 30% ‘group mark’ is to be maintained at the unit level.
b) If a unit had a group work component(s) that was greater than 60% of the unit grade then this may no longer be compliant, depending on the split of group and individual mark components within that task. In this case the weighting of group and individual marks may need to be changed to ensure no more than 30% of the unit total is a group mark.
Defining a ‘group mark’
For the purposes of this policy, a ‘group mark’ will include assessment designs where a) all members in a group receive the same grade, or b) where the initial group mark determined by an assessor based on a group submission may be adjusted for individuals based on the outcomes of a structured and moderated peer evaluation of each team member’s effort or input.
Advice – designing group work assessment
This is a good opportunity to revisit the design of group work in a unit.
In both of the cases outlined above, consider how you can help students undertake group work more effectively by explicitly providing support and resources for working in teams (e.g. clearly defining roles, responsibilities, expectations, staged deadlines for team members to meet, regularly minuted team meetings etc), actively motioning student groups and using peer evaluation of their input. Let students know they can raise concerns about group work early with you for timely resolution assistance. Some resources on designing, supporting and running group work assessment are provided below.
Be sure each assessment task is correctly specified in the CMS as ‘individual’ or ‘individual and group’, with correct weighting applied and task time specified. Don’t leave these field blank, don’t just use the ‘defaults’ and do not lump all assessments into one descriptor! (100%).
Consider how you can leverage iLearn tools to help manage group assessment. Did you know there is a ‘Team Evaluation’ feature in iLearn? – See the resources below to find out more.
Designing group assessment
- Team-based learning design (by MQBS – document file)
- Best ways to allocate groups in iLearn (Teche post)
- Small group activities (Teche post)
- Encouraging participation online (Teche post)
- Designing effective group work (UNSW)
- Assessing teams and groups (UQ)
- Proactively Ensuring Team Success programme (UQ) also available as a free EdX MOOC.
- A general guide for selecting suitable iLearn (Moodle) tools for the job – look at the ‘co-creation’ column. Relevant iLearn guides are listed below.
Supporting students in group work
- Team X – a self-enrolment iLearn unit that is a guide to working in teams (MQ)
- Effective group work for students (UNSW)
- Working as a group for students (UQ)
- Teams101x working in teams self-paced MOOC (free EdX UQ)
- Groups and groupings can be formed by allocation or via student self selection. See the group management section of the iLearn guides.
- Group assessment activities can be done using iLearn Assignment (when set up for group submission), Wiki (for collaborative and tracked group document creation), Blog (when set up for groups), and Workshop (for peer feedback on submissions). See the assignment submission section of the iLearn guide and a set of video guides for the above tools available in the iLearn for Convenors unit.
- Peer evaluation of team member effort can be done via iLearn Assignment with the Team Eval plugin. Note: Staff must request that Team Eval to be enabled for the unit site. See the team evaluation section of the iLearn activities guide.