6. Group Scores Should Not Be Factored Into Individual Grades.

In my Standards-Based Grading post last weekend, Anon Y. Mous asked that I explain the rationale behind each of the core guidelines involved in the S.B.G. system. I think it’s a good suggestion and here is the sixth core guideline. Please comment with any corrections as I am still learning this new system. 🙂

When students work in groups, an individual’s progress and current achievement level cannot be ascertained. Individuals should be assessed only about how they are meeting a standard or in progress towards a standard. Thus, group grades would be seen as formative (not recorded for a grade) and not summative (recorded for a grade).

I must admit that I do record group grades, and I believe in group work (to a degree), but I am very cautious about what I allow to be group work.

The groups in my class have to assign the points themselves. First, I give each group project a score, let’s say 90/100. Then I take the points earned, 90, and multiply it by the number of group members. I normally make groups of three for most projects, so the students would now have 270 points to divvy up. I then hand out a sheet where each group member must:

  • show me how many points each student earns (and no group is allowed to just divide the total by three),
  • detail a rationale for each student’s score, and
  • sign the sheet agreeing to the points.

They discuss the entire process, and I only intervene when the groups can’t agree. I have only once had to step in and help.

I like this process since every student must justify his/her efforts and products, and the students essentially agree to their individual grades. The group grade simply starts a process and is actually just a basic guide.


5 thoughts on “6. Group Scores Should Not Be Factored Into Individual Grades.

  1. Betty

    I agree with you. I also used to observe the groups and assign points for the contributions each student made to the project. It helped keep them on task instead of depending on someone else to do the work.

  2. Melissa

    This sounds like a great way to grade group work! Could you clarify one thing for me? Does the group receive one sheet to divvy up points on, or each individual student? I’m trying to visualize the step-by-step process in my mind. 🙂 Thanks.


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