Tara, Science in the City:I tend not to count group projects for a large grade, but for smaller classwork grades. On a small project I will grade the final product. In other cases, I will put three grades together (1) a participation/effort grade based on my observations during their work (2) a grade on the final product, (3) a teamwork grade or peer grade that their group completes. I may use something like this, or change it to fit the particular project. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Groupwork-Checklist-1333398
Clair, High School English on a Shoestring Budget: I include both true group parts (like assembling a group poster board) and individual parts to a collaborative project. The weight of the individual parts is greater than the group portion, so the assessment is largely based on their individual work– but they can still collaborate in the process and help each other with the individual parts. I’ve used group assessments, where students rate their own contributions, with limited success– my students are so keen on covering for each other (or at least not “narcing” each other out) that they’ll insist that a student contributed, even if said student slept, was absent, or clearly did nothing. Including my own assessment with theirs helps a bit with this, as they do their work in class, allowing me to see who is working and who is not, generally.
Sara, Ms. Fuller’s Teaching Adventures:I structure group assignments in a way that everyone must do an individual aspect and then they must work together to assemble a larger piece. This keeps everyone accountable for their own work. I also have students self asses and peer asses themselves throughout the project. I can compare what a student feels he/she did to contribute with what his/her peers think he/she did to contribute and assign participation points that way.