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Assessing Student-Student Collaboration (Promises and Perils of Assigning and Grading Group Work, aka, Cooperative Learning or Cheating?) Karl A. Smith Engineering Education – Purdue University Civil Engineering - University of Minnesota ksmith@umn.edu http://www.ce.umn.edu/~smith

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Assessing Student-Student Collaboration (Promises and Perils of Assigning and Grading Group Work, aka, Cooperative Learning or Cheating?)

Karl A. Smith

Engineering Education – Purdue University

Civil Engineering - University of Minnesota

ksmith@umn.edu

http://www.ce.umn.edu/~smith

Annual Conference on

Case Study Teaching in Science

October 6-7, 2006

session overview
Session Overview
  • Introductions – session, facilitator, participants
    • Developed with Stan Soffin, Michigan State University
  • Survey of group grading practices
  • Advantages & Disadvantages of group assignments/grades
  • Problems reported to MSU Ombudsman Office concerning group grades
  • MSU Student Group Work Guidelines
  • Group work grading advice
group assignment grading practices
Group Assignment/Grading Practices
  • Assign Group Projects/Homeworks/?
  • Percentage of Grade based on group work
    • <10%
    • 10-20%
    • 20-30%
    • >30%
  • Assess Individual Contributions to Group Work? How?
  • Other?
advantages of assigning group work6
Advantages of Assigning Group Work
  • Students know one another
  • Provides a sense of realism for the fields they’ll go to
  • Illustrative of class material, e.g., organizational communication
  • Distributes the workload for complex projects
  • Exposes students to opinions other than their own
  • Students learn team-based skills
  • Increases interaction in the classroom
  • Fewer projects to grade
  • Process advantage for the student
  • Multiculturalism
  • Much more dynamic classroom, students are engaged
  • Breaks up the monotony
  • Learning the art of compromise
  • Makes it easier to deal with large classes and large labs
  • Ends up being better for presenting work to the rest of the class
  • You can do more complex, rigorous learning with more advanced projects
  • Get students out of the classroom – community,
  • Sometimes students do a better job of explaining concepts than we do
  • Students can learn from other students work habits
slide7

Cooperative Learning Research Support

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T., & Smith, K.A. 1998. Cooperative learning returns to college: What evidence is there that it works? Change, 30 (4), 26-35.

• Over 300 Experimental Studies

• First study conducted in 1924

• High Generalizability

• Multiple Outcomes

Outcomes

1. Achievement and retention

2. Critical thinking and higher-level

reasoning

3. Differentiated views of others

4. Accurate understanding of others' perspectives

5. Liking for classmates and teacher

6. Liking for subject areas

7. Teamwork skills

small group learning meta analysis
Small-Group Learning: Meta- analysis

Springer, L., Stanne, M. E., & Donovan, S. 1999. Effects of small-group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69(1), 21-52.

Small-group (predominantly cooperative) learning in postsecondary science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (SMET). 383 reports from 1980 or later, 39 of which met the rigorous inclusion criteria for meta-analysis.

The main effect of small-group learning on achievement, persistence, and attitudes among undergraduates in SMET was significant and positive. Mean effect sizes for achievement, persistence, and attitudes were 0.51, 0.46, and 0.55, respectively.

slide9

Cooperative Learning is instruction that involves people working in teams to accomplish a common goal, under conditions that involve both positive interdependence (all members must cooperate to complete the task) and individual and group accountability (each member is accountable for the complete final outcome).

Key Concepts

•Positive Interdependence

•Individual and Group Accountability

•Face-to-Face Promotive Interaction

•Teamwork Skills

•Group Processing

challenges disadvantages of assigning group work12
Challenges/Disadvantages of Assigning Group Work
  • Individuals need time to reflect before moving into group discussion otherwise they may adopt others’ perspectives
  • How to form groups so they can work effectively together
  • Difficulty assessing individual student’s work/effort
  • Some students refuse to work with others
  • Some students feel intimidated if they don’t know
  • Places more importance on absences
  • Difficult to find/design good exercises
  • Difficult to schedule out of class meetings
  • Overall raising of grades
  • Students grading students
problems reported to msu ombudsman office concerning group grades
Problems Reported to MSU Ombudsman Office concerning group grades
  • Students’ participating in grading
  • Students felt “ganged up on” resulting in reduced (& unfair) reduction in contribution from team members
  • Student let other students down
  • Surprise allegation of plagiarism
msu student group work guidelines
MSU Student Group Work Guidelines
  • Structure: Establishing Group Projects for Greatest Effectiveness
    • Course planning factors
    • Detailed Expectations
    • Course Orientation Discussion
    • Contracts with Students
    • Training in Group Work
  • Process: Effective Use of Groups in the Classroom
    • Student Work Expectations
    • Monitoring Process
    • Factoring Affecting the Monitoring Process
    • Checking the Value of Group Work
  • Evaluation: Student Evaluation in Group Assignments
    • Individual Contributions to Group Assignments
    • Faculty Evaluation
    • Peer Evaluation
    • Caution for New Projects
    • Student Feedback
research on academic integrity
Research on academic integrity
  • On most campuses, over 75% of students admit some cheating
  • Academic honor codes effectively reduce cheating

Chronic cheating is also prevalent

Faculty are reluctant to report cheating

  • Cheating is higher among fraternity and sorority members
  • Longitudinal comparisons show significant increases in explicit test/examination cheating and unpermitted collaboration

http://www.northwestern.edu/uacc/cai/research/highlights.html (accessed 9/1/03)

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SERIOUS CHEATING ON CAMPUSES

New research on academic integrity: The success of "modified" honor codes. COLLEGE ADMINISTRATION PUBLICATIONS, INC. http://www.collegepubs.com/ref/SFX000515.shtml (accessed 9/1/03)

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What can be done to reduce/eliminate cheating?

On exams

On written assignments

What role does/can cooperative learning play?

slide18

What can be done to reduce/eliminate cheating (inappropriate cooperation)?

Refer explicitly to the policy on Scholastic Conduct

Be very explicit about telling students when and how they are expected to cooperate and when they are to work individually

1 00 protection of scholarship and grades
1.00 PROTECTION OF SCHOLARSHIP AND GRADES

The principles of truth and honesty are fundamental to the educational process and the academic integrity of the University; therefore, no student shall:

1.01 claim or submit the academic work of another as one's own.

1.02 procure, provide, accept or use any materials containing questions or answers to any examination or assignment without proper authorization.

1.03 complete or attempt to complete any assignment or examination for another individual without proper authorization.

1.04 allow any examination or assignment to be completed for oneself, in part or in total, by another without proper authorization.

1.05 alter, tamper with, appropriate, destroy or otherwise interfere with the research, resources, or other academic work of another person.

1.06 fabricate or falsify data or results. to work individually

MSU Spartan Life: 2003-2004 Student Handbook and Resource Guide, p. 77

slide20

On my honor as a student

I have neither given nor received aid on this

assignment/exam

(University of Virginia)

slide21

University of Virginia Honor Pledge

The Honor System is an integral part of the University of Virginia. The essence of the system is that a student's word as a member of the University can be accepted without question and that any violation of a student's word is an offense against the entire student body. Course instructors will indicate which assignments are to be done individually and which permit collaboration. The following pledge should be written out at the end of all quizzes and examinations and on individual assignments and papers: "On my honor as a student I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment/exam." The pledge must be signed by the student. The University Honor Committee enforces the honor system. Students who violate the honor code are expelled from the University.

slide22

University of Minnesota Honor Code

I recognize academic integrity as essential to the University of Minnesota’s and its students’ equitable and uncompromised pursuit of their joint endeavors. As a student I promise to practice it to the best of my ability and to do nothing that would give me unfair advantage at the expense of my fellow students. If I cheat in spite of making this declaration, I expect to be penalized according to the offense, up to and including notation of cheating recorded on my transcript and permanent expulsion from the University of Minnesota.

http://www1.umn.edu/usenate/reports/saicrept.html (accessed 4/25/00)

slide23

Professor's Role in

Formal Cooperative Learning

1. Specifying Objectives

2. Making Decisions

3. Explaining Task, Positive Interdependence, and Individual Accountability

4. Monitoring and Intervening to Teach Skills

5. Evaluating Students' Achievement and Group Effectiveness

slide24

Comparison of Learning Groups

Less Structured (Traditional)

More Structured (Cooperative)

Low interdependence. Members take

High positive interdependence. Members

responsibility only for self. Focus is on

are responsible for own and each other’s

individual performance only.

learning. Focus is on joint performance.

Individual accountability only

Both group and individual accountability.

Members hold self and others accountable

for high quality work.

Assignments are discussed with little

Members promote each other’s success.

commitment to each other’s learning.

They do real work together and help and

support each other’s efforts to learn.

Teamwork skills are ignored. Leader is

Teamwork skills are emphasized. Members

appointed to direct members’ participation.

are taught and expected to use social skills.

All members share leadership

responsibilities.

No group processing of the quality of its

Group processes quality of work and how

work. Individual accomplishments are

effectively members are working together.

rewarded.

rewarded.

Continuous improvement is emphasized.

Continuous improvement is emphasized.

msu student group work guidelines25
MSU Student Group Work Guidelines
  • Structure: Establishing Group Projects for Greatest Effectiveness
    • Course planning factors
    • Detailed Expectations
    • Course Orientation Discussion
    • Contracts with Students
    • Training in Group Work
  • Process: Effective Use of Groups in the Classroom
    • Student Work Expectations
    • Monitoring Process
    • Factoring Affecting the Monitoring Process
    • Checking the Value of Group Work
  • Evaluation: Student Evaluation in Group Assignments
    • Individual Contributions to Group Assignments
    • Faculty Evaluation
    • Peer Evaluation
    • Caution for New Projects
    • Student Feedback
slide26

Cooperative Learning: Advice for Starting Out

DON'T give group grades until you

and the students are ready

Rule: No student's grade should be lower because of cooperative learning. Evaluation for learning should be individual until you and the students are ready for group grades. Explore alternatives to giving group grades for group work.

slide27

Further Reading

MSU Student Group Work Guidelines

Cooperative learning: Making Agroupwork@ work -Karl Smith

Grading cooperative projects - Karl Smith