Why use group member evaluation?

This is the 11th post in a series titled ‘All Things Group Work’. The home page is here.

The pedagogical benefits of group member evaluation are clear: it helps increase the validity of assigning individuals an overall group score and helps students develop graduate attributes that lead to self-regulation.

1. Equity = validity

A common concern for course coordinators assigning a group score to individuals in the group is whether every individual warrants the score. Social loafing is not just an anecdotal phenomenon but has been well-researched (Aggarwal & O’Brien, 2008). However, it is clearly impractical for the CC to have eyes on the processes and progress of every individual in each group assigned a task. The video below, narrated by Rebecca Smith from The University of Adelaide, illustrates that peer review can ameliorate this issue, and provide students with other benefits to learning.

2. Evaluation and self-regulation

When guided by a well-designed rubric, group member evaluation enables students to reflect on the group’s progress and to identify areas of strength and areas of weakness. Such knowledge then empowers both the receiver of feedback and the giver of feedback to adjust future group behaviours. 

The feedback can sometimes be a moment of enlightenment as the individual may have behaviours identified that they are not aware of. When the writing of constructive feedback is embedded into the evaluation, the student is provided context to the rubric determinations and is then able to reflect on their legitimacy. This process begins a form of social constructivism and leads to increased self-regulatory behaviours. 

In the next post, we discuss how technology can be leveraged to improve GME efficiency.


Aggarwal, P., O’Brien, C. L. (2008). Social loafing on group projects: Structural antecedents and effect on student satisfaction. Journal of Marketing Education, 30, 255-264. doi:10.1177/0273475308322283

I’m Paul Moss. I’m a learning designer at the University of Adelaide. Follow me on Twitter @edmerger or on LinkedIn

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