Activities, assignments and assessment/Accountability in team assignments

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Accountability in team assignments. Dianne Williamson and Maureen Long. Copy on Youtube.

Dianne Williamson and Maureen Long, presenting to AAAOpenConf2013

Team-based activities are increasingly used for both learning and assessment – but how does the examiner know whether individual students have actively participated and ‘earned’ the team mark? This presentation will discuss some of the assessment issues faced in a first year health science subject, and the ‘Team Journal’ which has been developed to record the contributions of individual team members. The Team Journal is also used to capture evidence of student achievement of cornerstone graduate capabilities in the areas of teamwork and problem solving.

Notes[edit]

Maureen began the conversation about the subject, Interprofessional Practice A, that both she and Dianne have been involved in from the beginning involving team learning; they bring a vast amount of experience in the area. They spoke of the challenges and positives they have experienced in interprofessional subjects.

Di - FHS large cohort of students. 30 students in workshops - 5-6 students in each team. Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) - assessments around specific themes - individual and team based. Team based assessment causes some angst. Postive comments - students like opportunities to develop networks with other students in a learning community - supporting each other.

Issues - personality clashes, team member who doesn't contribute.

Facilitator concerns - equity around marking when some students in teams don't contribute. Strategies used to measure - team learning agreement/level of achievement they are strivng for; how will they communicate with each other - split assessment tasks, etc. First team task - reflective exercise follows and to review team learning agreement.

Also using a team journal - students write weekly diary entry re their contributions to team functioning as well as the 'product'. Team to allocate a % contribution for each team member so process is as transparent as possible.

Unsuccessful aspects of assessment of team assignments

  • Unfavourable comments about other students in peer assessment - some lacking in diplomacy.
  • Applying a mathematical formula to determine how much each team member contributed also proved problematic.
  • Marks allocated to teams (vs individual). Difficulty in shifting student's focus from individual acheivement, to engaging in a learning task - as part of a group.

Problem of 'Social loafing', questions of equity aren't the only thing to focus on - but important nonetheless. Team Contract - one way to navigate the practical and interpersonal issues inherent in collaborating... part of assessment is the evaluation of the contract, and their interaction in the group. A % contribution is given by each student. Also used is a weekly diary, documenting their experiences.

Social context of learning

Some of the collaborative/team aspects extend beyond assessment, to preparation for individual contributions. Role of personalities and characteristics in team cohesion and function.

Communication - expectations and capacity to learn and demonstrate learning in teams and as individuals. Reflection on processes - contributions important as much as completion of task.

Moved away from large number of team based assessments.

Team 20% Individual 80% - flip from original model.

Workplaces do not always have team cohesion and they may experience some dysfunction so the emphasis on equity has shifted. Interprofessional practice still reflected in focus even though shift in assessment back to more individual.

Peer assessment of contribution - calls for automated system. How is it done - students can indicate levels of contribution. Everybody gets the team mark and facilitator will note discrepancies and will speak to team to ensure fairness. This has worked well.

"How can we be the best we can be and encourage our students to be the best they can be?"