eCoaching Tip 10 Assessing Group Projects

April 21, 2006 (Reviewed, May 2 2019)

e-Coaching Tip 10: Assessing Group Projects

This is the last of three tips focusing on the Why and How of Group Projects within Online Courses.  This tip focuses on ideas and approaches for assessing group projects.

A common thread among all projects — whether they are individual or group projects — is that projects are powerful and satisfying teaching and learning strategies.   First,  projects provide an opportunity for students to customize the learning goals to their particular life/work goals, making the learning experience meaningful and useful.. Secondly, projects provide a way for faculty to “see” into the minds of the students.   Projects that include products, such as papers, presentations, and actions, make students’ thinking and learning visible.  Projects require students to link the new incoming  content to their existing knowledge store, creating a larger networked knowledge structure in their heads.

You may want to consider at length question #7 — Is there a way to have students participate in the review and grading of projects?   Involving students in the process of review is another way of building networking and collaboration among the students themselves and deepening peer-to-peer dialogue.  Students often will need coaching in the process of doing peer review, but the skills of evaluation and honest and fair review of work are very valuable cross-functional skills.  Hopefully, you will find the Peer Assessment form useful as a starting point for your own needs.

The questions and answers for assessing group projects provide ways of looking at both product and process. This is a huge topic that is just lightly touched on here.  As experienced teachers, you all most likely have many additional ideas, stories and questions on this topic. When you are so-inclined, send a note as to what you have found useful or what has definitely not worked for you!


The Why and How of Group Projects within Online Courses — Part Three of Three:  Assessing Group Projects

6. How do I assess group projects?

Online group projects can be graded in much the same way that they are in the classroom-based learning environment.  The quality of the end product is important.  And of course, the project should be successful in demonstrating how the group achieved the desired learning goals and objectives for the project.

Thus, for campus and online classes alike, the single most useful tool in assessing group projects is the rubric you develop at the time you create and design the group project.  This also means that a good rule of thumb is to refer to the metrics for evaluating and assessing the project often.  This helps to ensure awareness, understanding and no surprises!

The rubrics presented in the FAQ on discussion postings are a good place to start when developing rubrics for projects.  Simple scales of 4-5 points or 1-4 levels are often most useful.  A friend of mine often reminds me of the KISS principle  – “Keep it Simple, Stupid.”  This principle argues for the  simplest solution or path where possible.

Here are some of the criteria areas to consider while keeping things simple for both you and the students. Note that the criteria include metrics for both the process of teamwork as well as the product.

  • The process of how the team worked. For example, how effective were the various team members in participating in the group formation, group tasks and finished product. This is the classic “process” in addition to the “learning product.”
  • The actual product itself. How well did the product capture and accomplish the intended goals and objectives. Criteria such as innovativeness, thoroughness, readiness for action, and professionalism are often encouraged, depending on the learning goals.
  • The presentation of the product to the larger group.
  • The participation in the peer reviews and evaluations of the product.

An excellent resource for more detail about assessing group projects is at the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, Australia  You may also find this useful in developing your rubrics for your project.  An excellent resource for 16 rubrics nationally developed is the VALUE project by AACU that is listed in the reference.

7. Is there a way to have students participate in the review and grading of projects?

An effective tool for encouraging effective and appropriate participation in teams is a peer review process. As with any assessment, this part of the assessment is ideally introduced at the original introduction of the team project.  Informing the teams at the beginning of the project that their peers will have a say in their grades sends the message that being a good team member is an important part of the project.

Here’s a sample peer assessment form that you may wish to adapt and use depending on the nature of the particular project in your course: 

Team Member Evaluation Form

Team Member Name:                                                                                  

Using your best, objective and fair professional analysis, complete the following evaluation form concerning your team member’s performance on your team presentation.

1.The LEVEL of effort this team member gave toward the presentation was…

Below Expectation             Met Expectation                           Above Expectation

2. The QUALITY of that effort was…

Below Expectation              Met Expectation                           Above Expectation

3. The INPUT this team member contributed to the team discussions was…

Below Expectation              Met Expectation                           Above Expectation

4. How would you rate this team member’s level of cooperation?

Below Expectation              Met Expectation                           Above Expectation

5. How would you rate this team member’s time on the presentation?

Below Expectation              Met Expectation                           Above Expectation

6. This team member attended team meetings…

Below Expectations                      As Expected

7. This team member met team deadlines…

Below Expectations                      As Expected

8. How would you rate this team member’s OVERALL work and contribution to this presentation?

Below Group Grade        Same as Group Grade                  Above Group Grade

Additional comments regarding this team member’s work on this presentation:


Each member should submit a form for every team member as well as themselves.  Question #8 is really the crucial question.  Sometimes a team member may feel disgruntled about a particular behavior of a team mate but overall still rates the team member as having done a good job.  It’s only in those cases that the team feels that the grade should be lowered that I usually consider doing so.


Assessment Commons. (2016). Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment.   Retrieved from

Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2009). VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). Washington DC:

Centre for Study in HIgher Education. (2002). Assessing group work. Assessing Learning in Australian Universities: Ideas, strategies and resources for quality in student assessment Retrieved from

Moskal, B. M. (2000). Scoring Rubrics: What, When and How? Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(3). Retrieved from

Note: These e-coaching tips were initially developed for faculty in the School of Leadership & Professional Advancement at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. This library of tips has been organized and updated through 2016  in the second edition of the  book, The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips coauthored with Rita Marie Conrad. Judith can be reached judith followed by