The school year is winding down for many of us and most of us turn one (or both) of two end-of-year activities – final exams or group projects (or individual projects).
Final exams are usually pretty straightforward, so what about the other option – group projects?
Some reasons we may want to do group projects:
- “Fun” – Projects are usually less pressure and more engaging than a typical final exam
- Accountability – A project can still be a big chunk of students’ grades so there’s still accountability in the last weeks of school as students get antsy about summer break
- Grading – We might have the project done in groups so there are fewer projects to grade
- Collaboration – We want to give students the opportunity to build collaboration skills
Of course, group projects come with their own problems and challenges. Here are the ones I hear (and myself have faced) the most often:
- There are “hogs and logs”
Who’s ever worked in a group and not had this happen? One or two students take on a bulk of the work while one or two students contribute nothing.
- Students procrastinate and “goof off”, “mess around”, or “don’t do anything” until the last minute and either fail miserably or beg and cry for an extension.
- “How am I supposed to grade all of this?”
Projects often come with multiple components to grade. My worst case scenarios were when I had piles of posters and papers that just overwhelmed me every time I looked at them, making me put off grading them until… well, let’s say a while. (This wasn’t an end-of-year project.)
I’ll post on these this upcoming week, but I’d also love to hear from you – do any of these resonate with you? Are there any other major pain points you encounter with group projects?