Rethink How We Assess Group Research

Group work is typically very difficult for students. It is time for us to really open up the group research “black box” and assess the “process” of individual participation in group research. That will help students learn how to collaborate and grow with others.

Below you will see the results of students’ feedback on group research in a small Grade 10 classroom. You can say that half of the groups relied on a single student to do the research, either because that was the hard working student, the smart student or because others were working only on technical details like finding images and creating a nice looking presentation. There were groups that seem to have split the research work to get organised and others that seemed to have a more organic type of work. You can also see below, students’s suggestions on how to improve individual participation in group research.

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In order to help students self-assess their contribution to group research, I created the following rubric. This rubric is based on my experience on Sophomore research projects. As part of my own collaborative work, as I created this first draft of the rubric, I shared on my Twitter for feedback and also met with the Librarians in my school so we could align language. In fact, the rubric below already has modifications in language from this meeting with the Librarians, as in our school the research process involves steps like Think, Create, Share, Grow. You will see some of our comments on the side of the Google Doc. You can click on the image to see it better.

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As part of collaborative work on this rubric, I had a Facetime conversation with Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches). As always,  Silvia was able to synthesise what I was saying and not only provide feedback but also come up with some really good terminology to capture the main ideas. She then created the awesome sketchnote below with those terms, for which I just added the idea of “self-adjusting”. Thank you Silvia for the amazing feedback! WE CANNOT MOVE FAR IF WE WORK ALONE!

group research Tolisano


So based on Silvia’s sketchnote, I revised my Rubric, so it became a description of the terminology: Curate, Share, Sel-Adjust, Feedback, Add Value.

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The following Infographic provides a visual for the different Levels of individual participation in group research, and how students can move from “cooperation” to true “collaboration”.

Collaborative Research



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