Assessing group work

A group of students at the University of Reading

Working in groups can provide your students with valuable learning opportunities. It encourages them to see other people's point of view and to learn from and with one another. The ability to work collaboratively is an important life skill and is in demand from both professional bodies and employers. If used early on in a programme, group work can also play an important social and motivational role. Problem-based learning frequently involves elements of group work and research evidence shows that this consistently results in enhanced student learning1.

Your reasons for wanting to use group work may be varied, including reducing your marking load or as a professional requirement, but as for any form of assessment, if you are going to use group work you should be aware of some fundamental first principles. Broadly speaking, these can be divided into two areas, namely:


  1. Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van den Bossche, P. & Gijbels, D. (2003). Effects of Problem-Based Learning: A Meta-Analysis From the Angle of Assessment. Learning and Instruction, 13, 5, pp. 533-568.

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