Individual learning and performance can be assessed in any number of ways. Some instructors add an individual component to group projects (e.g., a short essay, journal entries); some combine a group project with an individual test or quiz. Both group and individual performance are then reflected in the total project grade (e.g., some faculty members make the group grade worth 50% and the individual grade worth 50%; others split it 80%/20%. There’s no perfect breakdown, but the grading scheme should (a) reflect your goals for student learning and (b) seek to motivate the kind of work you want to see.)
Professor Solomon asks student groups to research a famous anthropological controversy, and give an oral presentation analyzing the issues, positions, and people involved. She assigns a group grade for the presentation, but also requires all the team members to write a short, individual paper summarizing what they learned from the assignment and what they contributed to the team. If the individual piece demonstrates a poor understanding of the material or a low level of participation in the group, she reserves the right to lower the individual’s grade by a full letter grade. If it is particularly informed, thorough, or demonstrates an exceptionally high contribution to the team, she raises the individual’s grade by a full letter grade.
Table 1 also indicates that teams meet more often than traditional work groups. Work groups may meet periodically, based on the manager’s style, primarily to hear and share information. Teams, by comparison, do much more than communicate when they meet. Team meetings are forums for planning work, solving work problems, making decisions about work, and reviewing progress. In short, meetings are vital to a team’s existence.
A team brings together individuals with similar interests and objectives. Teamwork originates with, and builds relationships among, a group of people who share a common interest or purpose. Working in teams allows individuals from different areas (e.g. programs, fund raising, marketing) with different roles (staff, volunteer, client/consumer/customer) and perhaps from different organizations to work together on issues of interest to team members.