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Group Assignments, Not Group Assessments

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What It’s Like On The Inside responds to a recent article from Washington Post education columnist Jay Mathews examining group grading. Mathews explains that, although it's not been a recommended practice for several years in Maryland’s Montgomery County, old habits die hard. According to What It’s, that’s no excuse for a practice that she thinks hurts students.

We know from educational research that cooperative learning experiences can be valuable to students. But, as the name suggests, these strategies are to be used while learning---not for assessment.

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When working on a group activity or project, I believe students should be allowed to assess their own work and assess their peers. By reflecting on their efforts and contributions, they are reviewing their own processes which should help to instill the learning goals that were set for the group. This can be done through a rubric or reflection sheet. As long as students are aware that this is part of the process, they can take ownership of their work. The final end should not just be a grade but a reflection of what was accomplished and learned through the process.

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