Faculty Guide to Team Projects

Five students working together around a laptop computer.

Are you considering using a team project in your course? Have you used them before but feel that there’s room for improvement? Wondering how to address a challenge you or your students face?

This resource provides effective, research-based practices and resources to help you create, support, and assess team projects in your class, whether it’s online, face to face, or hybrid.

Return to all Teaching Resources

Assessing the Project

Effective practice: Assess team output and individual student contributions and understanding

Team output + individual contributions to the team + individual understanding = final grade

Assessing team performance provides incentive for student groups to work together. Assessing individual contributions to the team allows students to indicate the relative contributions of their teammates. Assessing individual performance also provides an opportunity for each student to reflect on their own learning process and to demonstrate individual understanding of the material. Your assessments, whether of the work of individuals or the team, should be designed to measure and align with your learning outcomes. When designing your assessments ask yourself what evidence from students would demonstrate that the team and each individual can meet your learning outcomes.

Team output

Individual contributions to the team

Individual understanding

  • Team quizzes
  • Collaborative exams
  • Team project
  • Peer review
  • Quizzes
  • Exams
  • Reports

References:

Allen, D. & Tanner, K. Rubrics: Tools for making learning goals and evaluation criteria explicit for both teachers and learners. CBE - Life Sciences Education, 5(3), 197 – 203 (2006).

Anson, R. & Goodman, J.A. A peer assessment system to improve student team experiences. Journal of Education for Business, 89(1), 27 – 34 (2014).

Cotner, S. H., Baepler, P., & Kellerman, A. Scratch This! The IF-AT as a technique for stimulating group discussion and exposing misconceptions. Journal of College Science Teaching, 37(4), 34-39 (2008a).

Cotner, S.H., Fall, B., Wick, S.M., Walker, J.D. & Baepler, P.M. Rapid feedback assessment methods: Can we improve engagement and preparation for exams in large-enrollment courses? Journal of Science Education Technology, 17, 437-443 (2008b).

Dingel, M. and Wei, W. Influences on peer evaluation in a group project. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(6), 729 – 742 (2014).

Gilley, B. H. and Clarkston, B. Collaborative testing: Evidence of learning in a controlled in-class study of undergraduate students. Journal of College Science Teaching, 43(3), 83 – 91 (2014).

Kapitanoff, S. H. Collaborative testing: Cognitive and interpersonal processes related to enhanced test performance. Active Learning in Higher Education, 10(1), 56 – 70 (2009).

Oakley, B., Felder, R.M., Brent, R. & Elhajj, I. Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of Student Centered Learning, 2(1), 9 – 34 (2004).

Pandey, C. & Kapitanoff, S.H. The influence of anxiety and quality of interaction on collaborative test performance. Active Learning in Higher Education, 12(3), 163-174 (2011).

Rieger, G. W. and Heiner, C. E. Examinations that support collaborative learning: The students’ perspective. Journal of College Science Teaching, 43(4), 41 – 47 (2014).