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Topic: group projects
Replies: 10   Last Post: Mar 30, 1995 4:58 PM

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Laura Petersen

Posts: 16
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: group projects
Posted: Mar 30, 1995 12:05 AM
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The greatest difficulty I have encountered with students "riding others'
coattails" at this college -- a largely non-residential multi-age state
college -- is that it is very difficult for working students (and I mean
working full time supporting a family) and traditional students to mesh
their schedules and work together effectively. You would think it would
be the working students that would be the limiting factor but it often is
the other way around -- the "traditional" students are less committed to
success and simply don't show up, don't do their share of the work, and
in general impede the group process. The serious students hate group
projects because they know their grades can sufferand they will waste a
lot of their precious time because of the lack of commitment by other group

After trying various things, at this point I have limited my group
interactions to inside-class work and I often don't grade it at all, just
expect them to complete the task so that they have the skills to do
future work and homework. It takes some finese in the classroom both in
the way I present the assignment and how I configure the group members
but generally they work hard and on task. I think all of us need to
somehow set the "conditions of success" for our students so that they
sometimes work without being graded. I have the most trouble with
students straight out of high school who are so grade oriented and
motivated that they have no concept of learning without some prospect of
a grade on their work.High school students who have had
every assignment evaluated for a
grade sometimes go into a deathspin when they realize that they have to
motivate themselves to learn without daily grades to kick them in the rear!

Group work and grading should follow the moderation principle:
everything in moderation, including moderation.


Laura Petersen

Division of Natural Sciences PHONE 208-799-2484
Lewis-Clark State College FAX 208-799-2064
500 8th Avenue
Lewiston ID 83501-2698 USA

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