How should I assess group work?

Henley Business School students working in a groupGroup work can be used for both formative assessment and summative assessment. When assessing summatively, you will need to choose whether you want to assess the outcome of the group work – its product, or the process of the group working together. Moving to group assessment of the product (such as a report or a presentation) is unlikely to cause any unusual problems as you have probably already developed assessment criteria for that type of product. Assessing the group process, however, can raise more challenges as many of the group's activities are likely to take place outside of the classroom and therefore out of sight.

Giving the same mark to all students within a group is likely to raise problems since individual contributions will vary and may lead to students feeling they have been treated unfairly (see the pages on assessing individuals within groups and dealing with the issue of freeloaders for more).

'Allocating a single group mark to all members of a group rarely leads to appropriate student learning behaviour, frequently leads to free loading, and so the potential learning benefits of group work are likely to be lost, and in addition students may, quite reasonably, perceive their marks as unfair.'

Graham Gibbs1


  1. Gibbs, G. (2010) The assessment of group work: lessons from the literature. [11 October 2011].

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