The Case for Group Grades

Introduction

It appears that the use of group activities is continuing to gain momentum in both mainstream education (Gillies, 2007) and L2 education (Jacobs & Goh, 2007), based on support from theory, research and people’s own experiences with groups as teachers and students. However, the use of group activities brings with it a host of questions that educationists must address. One of the most pressing of these questions asks how to grade the students who are members of the same group. Three options are to: (1) give all group members the same grade, (2) give each group member a separate grade and (3) base each member’s grade on some combination of group and individual grades. Of course, another option is not to give grades for students’ work in group activities. The present article briefly describes three arguments for option 1, the use of group grades: practicality, motivational power and the teaching of life skills.


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