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I am having students complete a presentation as a group project. Each student's grade will have two components: an instructor grade, from me, and a group grade from their group.

The group grade is calculated as the sum of five elements, each graded out of five, for a maximum of 25 points from each member of the group. Each student's 'group grade' is then calculated as the average of scores from the group.

The problem I have is that some of the groups have 4 students, some 5, and some 6. This means that weight of the score for students in larger groups is less than for those in smaller groups.

I plan to compensate for this by weighting the instructor grade more heavily. But as I think about it, even this doesn't cancel out the discrepancy.

How can I weight, or adjust, my grading scheme to make sure it's as fair as possible?

  • Are you open to increasing/decreasing the grades of individual members of a group, based on evidence that their contribution was higher/lesser than their peers? – Bilkokuya Apr 10 '18 at 16:05
  • I could do that, but I don't see how it would solve my problem. The 'student grades' of those in the groups with more people would still count for less per grade than those of students in smaller groups. – Joe Dixon Apr 10 '18 at 16:27
  • Why is more people means lesser weight? Have you considered the extra work needed to schedule meeting, reaching consensus, etc.? Also, before applying any weight, do the students i) willingly join a group with higher or lower number of members and ii) know that this decision will affect their grade? If you have not declared anything from the start, I'd suggest just take this as a lesson and give every group equal weight for the group grade. Once you have the first batch of data, then you can derive a lot of schemes according to within-group variance and such. – Penguin_Knight Apr 10 '18 at 17:21
  • Well you're trying to reach two contradictory objectives. First you want the student's grade to be given by the grade of the group, then you want this grade to actually be more individualized. This is not a problem that can be solved. – user9646 Apr 10 '18 at 17:56
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I don't see a problem with two-part grades where all instructor grades are weighted equally. Your issue seems to be that individual teammates' opinions carry less weight in the larger teams. But I don't see why that is necessarily unfair.

My suggestion would be to calculate the grades based on the same instructor weights for everyone and then make sure, before finalizing, that people in larger or smaller groups didn't get systematically different grades.

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  • Thanks. This is probably the best option, I think. As @Najib Idrissi said, I don't think it's a soluble problem. – Joe Dixon Apr 12 '18 at 13:09

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