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The Front Cover (The copy is centred between the left and right margins and normally begins

about three inches from the top of the page)

Evaluations Based on Students' Abilities to Work Effectively as Part of a Group in courses at Mohawk College

March 29, 1996

Title Page A title page contains the title of the report, for whom it was prepared, who prepared it and the date it was submitted.

Evaluations Based on Students' Abilities to Work Effectively as Part of a Group in Courses at Mohawk College

Prepared for: Prepared by: Submission date:

Instructor Name, Title Student Name, student information March 29, 200?

Formal Report Document Type: monograph Report Format: formal Report Type: comprehensive Transmittal Letter

333 West Avenue South Anywhere, ON Z9Z 9Z9 March 29, 200? M. My Instructor, Professor Some College, Main Campus PO Box 2034 Anytown, ON Y8Y 8Y8 Dear M. Instructor: In response to your request to look into the evaluation methods of Mohawk College students, we have completed a report that investigates the current evaluation methods at Mohawk College and studies the prevalence and impediments of evaluations based upon students' ability to work effectively as part of a team. The study revealed that the current typical course evaluation breakdown involves marks for assignments and examinations as well as some for attendance and participation. There were little or no evaluations based on students' ability to work effectively as part of a team. Students felt that group assignments helped them understand the material in the course better than other evaluation methods and helped them prepare for the workplace. Students also thought that evaluations based on students' ability to work effectively as part of a team did not evaluate the students' understanding of the material as well as other evaluation methods and were not as fair as other assignments. Interviews with instructors demonstrated that instructors found group work assessments difficult

to administer and hard to determine individual contributions to the group. Based on these findings, the report recommends that administration at Mohawk College 1. review the academic literature to determine if group work does prepare students for the workplace 2. conduct a wider study of students in other programs and all semesters to determine how students are currently being evaluated 3. encourage evaluation of students using group work evaluations 4. work with faculty to resolve the issues involved with administering group work evaluations Thank you for the opportunity to complete this study. You can contact us at 555-3333 if you have any questions about the report.

Sincerely, Student Name Student Name

Executive Summary

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Situation We feel that the the ability to work effectively as part of a team, has not been incorporated as part of the grading system at Mohawk College. If students are to reach their potential after graduation, they should receive instruction and evaluation of their ability to work effectively as part of a team. Methods In this report, we explored the ways in which students are evaluated in courses at Mohawk College, determined students' thoughts about evaluating the ability to work effectively as part of a team and interviewed four instructors to determine the rationale for current evaluation methods and the reasons why there isn't more evaluation based on group work. Findings Reviewing the course outlines showed on average that 60% of student evaluations are midterms and final exams, 30% of evaluations are based on quizzes and assignments, and 10% are based on attendance. A questionnaire showed that students felt that group assignments helped students understand the material in the course better than other evaluation methods and helped students prepare for the workplace. The same questionnaire found that students felt that group assignments did not evaluate the student understanding of the material as well as other evaluation methods and were not as fair as other assignments. Interviews with instructors reinforced the views of students regarding the ability of group assignments to prepare students for the workplace. The interviews demonstrated that instructors have the following administrative problems when using group work assessments:

difficult to organize difficult to administer if group breaks down hard to determine if all members of the group contribute equally hard for groups to meet outside of class time and not enough time for group

meetings during class

Recommendations Based on these findings, the report recommends that the administration at Mohawk College do the following: 1) review the academic literature to determine if group work does prepare students for the workplace 2) conduct a wider study of students in other programs and all semesters to determine how students are currently being evaluated 3) encourage evaluation of students using group work evaluations 4) work with faculty to resolve the issues involved with administering group work evaluations

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Executive Summary Contents Introduction Research Findings Course Outlines Questionnaires Focus Groups Interviews Conclusions Recommendations References Appendix A - Student Questionnaire Appendix B - Results of Questionnaire

i ii 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 7 8

ii

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INTRODUCTION The book Excelerate: Growing in the New Economy lists four skills that are critical to success in the next decade. In our experience, the first three skills - math skills, computer skills and communication skills - have been incorporated into the curriculum of Mohawk College. We feel that the fourth skill, the ability to work effectively as part of a team, has not been incorporated as part of the grading system. Rationale If students at Mohawk College are to reach their potential after graduation, they should receive instruction and evaluation of their ability to work effectively as part of a team. If assignments and assessments throughout the Mohawk College curriculum constantly reinforce the concept of working together as a team, students would be better able to succeed upon graduation. Scope This report explores the ways in which students are evaluated in courses at Mohawk College. We have used the courses that are currently offered within the core curriculum of the fourth semester of the Business Administration program. Methodology Course Outlines First we determined the amount of evaluation that is based upon group work within the specified courses. The course outlines for the following eight Mohawk College course outlines were used to determine evaluation types: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. BA440: Business Finance 2 BA547: Operations Management 2 MA311: Business Statistics OB371: Introduction to Organizational Behaviour AC331: Accounting 3 - Financial BA545: Materials Management BA556: Distribution Management BA575: Consumer Behaviour

Questionnaire A questionnaire (see Appendix A) was distributed to current Businesss Administration class to determine how they feel about current evaluation methods and compare these methods to evaluations using group work. The questonnaire was completed by 20 respondents. Focus Groups After completing the questionnaire, we held two focus groups to discuss the results of the questionnaire and determine students' thoughts about evaluating the ability to work effectively as part of a team (Group A: 3 students; Group B: 4 students). Interviews Finally, we interviewed four of the eight instructors currently teaching these eight courses to determine the following: 1. the rationale for current evaluation methods 2. reasons why there isn't more evaluation based on group work The instructors were from the following courses: 1. 2. 3. 4. Business Finance 2 Operations Management Introduction to Organizational Behaviour Consumer Behaviour

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FINDINGS A) Course Evaluation Methods Reviewing the course outlines showed that three basic methods of evaluation were used: midterm and final examinations; quizzes and assignments; and attendance. We found that the average course evaluation consisted of 60% for Midterm and Final exams, 30% for Quiz and Assignmnents and 10% for Attendance (see Table 1). Courses Midterm/Final Quiz/Assignts Attendance Business Finance 2 50% 40% 10% Operations 60% 30% 10% Management 2 Business Statistics 50% 50% 0% Introduction to Organizational 50% 35% 15% Behaviour Accounting 3 80% 20% 0% Financial Materials Management 70% 15% 15% Distribution 70% 20% 10% Management Consumer Behaviour 50% 30% 20% Average 60% 30% 10% Table 1: Evaluation Methods for eight courses using Midterms and Final exams; Quizzes and Assignments; and Attendance.

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Figure 1: The Average Value of Evaluation Methods for fourth semester Business Administration Courses.

There were no evaluations using group work indicated on the course outlines of the courses we reviewed. B) Efficacy of Evaluation After determining the evaluation methods used in the fourth semester of the Business Administration program, we distributed a questionnaire (the results have been tabulated in Appendix A) to our classmates to determine their opinion of four evaluation methods: the three contained in the course outlines and evaluations using group work. We also asked students how often they have participated in team assignments. The Questionnaire revealed the following results: 1) 80% of students thought group work help students very much or somewhat understand the material, which was higher than all other methods of evaluation. The percentage of students who felt that the other methods of evaluations helped students understand the material very much or somewhat are as follows: 30% midterms and final exams 70% quizzes and assignments 40% attendance 2) 80% of students thought group work prepared them very much or somewhat for the workplace.

The results for the other methods of evaluations for preparation for the workplace were significantly lower: 30% midterm and final exams 50% quizzes and assignments 20% attendance 3) Students felt that group work evaluations reflected the material in the course similarly to midterms and final exams and quizzes and assignments (60%), while attendance as a method of evaluation was significantly lower (10%). 4) Students felt that group work evaluated the understanding of the course material (40% very much or somewhat) less effectively than both midterms and final exams and quizzes and assignments (50%) but still more effectively than attendance(10%). 5) Students felt that quizzes and assignments were fairer methods of evaluation (70% very much or somewhat) than both midterms and final exams (50%) and group work (40%). Figure 2 summarizes the findings for across these five topics.

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Figure 2: Percentage of Student Who Answered Very Much or Somewhat to the Questions

6) When questioned about the percentage of evaluations that are based on group work, all the students answered not often (less than 20% of assignments) or not at all. C) Focus Groups Discussion with the two focus groups about the results of the questionnaire revealed the following four main points, two that were positive and two that were negative Positive: 1) Greater Understanding Students felt that group work helped them understand the course material more because they could help each other with the material as a group and because students would ask more questions with their peers in small groups than they would with the instructor in a large class. 2) Workforce Preparation Students felt that group work prepared them for the work force because they would have to work effectively in groups in the workplace, but would encounter exams and quizzes less often. Negative 3) Understanding Gaps

Students felt that group work did not evaluate understanding as well as other evaluation methods, except attendance, because evaluations of a group might reflect the abilities of the strongest member of the group and not individual members. 4) Grades and Work Distribution Because evaluations using group work may result in a grade that reflects the strongest member of the group, the students did not think group work was as fair as other evaluation methods. Students also felt that during group work evaluations, the work was not always spread equally among the members, although the marks often were. D) Instructor Viewpoints The four instructors were interviewed separately and asked to comment on current evaluation methods and the apparent lack of evaluations using group work. The following is a summary of the instructors' views regarding evaluation methods: 1) Midterms and Final Examinations and Quizzes and Assignments

easy to administer the established methods of evaluating students guaranteed that each student was being evaluated on their own knowledge guaranteed that each student that passed had achieved a measurable standard

2) Attendance

recommended to instructors by Student Success counsellors ensured that students were present to receive information from lectures, etc. did not measure students' abilities at all

3) Group Work

difficult to organize difficult to administer if group breaks down hard to determine if all members of the group contribute equally hard for groups to meet outside of class time and not enough time for group meetings during class helps students prepare for the workplace

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CONCLUSIONS 1. Amount of Group Evaluations

A review of the course outlines showed that there are no evaluations using group work in the fourth semester of the core courses in the Business Administration program. A survey of the students enrolled in this semester showed that group work evaluations were used for less than 20% of assignments or not at all. 2. Workplace Efficacy

The same survey demonstrated that students felt that group work helped them to understand the material in the course better than other evaluation methods. This survey also showed that students also felt that group work evaluations better prepared students for the workplace after graduation. An interview with a sample of the instructors who teach courses in the fourth semester of the Business Administration program also believed that group work helped prepare students for the workplace. 3. Fairness and Administration

Both the students and instructors felt there was a problem of fairness and grading of students who participate in group work assignments. As well, instructors felt that there were many difficulties administering group work assignments.

RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Given that our study was based upon a limited source (one book,Excelerate: Growing in the New Economy), before acting on any of the findings, the administration at Mohawk College might o review the academic literature to determine if group work does prepare students for the workplace.

2. Given that our study was based upon students and courses in one program during one semester, the administration at Mohawk College should o conduct a wider study of students in other programs and all semesters to determine how students are currently being evaluated. 3. Based on the statements contained in Excelerate: Growing in the New Economy, the response of students and instructors, and if this information is reinforced by further investigation, the administration at Mohawk College should o encourage evaluation of students using group work evaluations; and o work with faculty to resolve the issues involved with administering group work evaluations.

References

REFERENCES

1.Beck, Nuala. Excelerate: Growing in the New Economy. New York: Random House, 1994. 2.Doe, Jane. Personal interview. March 15, 2002. 3. Mann, Rick. Personal interview. March 16, 2002. 4.Melody, Sally. Personal interview. March 23, 2002. 5.Smith, John. Personal interview. March 24, 2002. Mohawk College Hope Page, 10 March 10, 2002, <http://www.mohawkc.on.ca>

Appendix A

APPENDIX A The Student Questionnaire Please answer the following questions with regard to the evaluation method indicated before each series of questions. Chose the response that most reflects your feelings about the question. (Number of responses to survey in bold) Part 1: Midterms and Final Examinations 1. Did this evaluation method help you to understand the material? 2 a) very much 4 b) somewhat 12 c) not very much 2 d) not at all 2. Did this evaluation method appropriately evaluate your understanding of the material? 4 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 6 c) not very much 4 d) not at all 3. Did this evaluation method reflect the material covered in the course? 4 a) very much 8 b) somewhat 6 c) not very much 2d) not at all 4. Do you feel this method of evaluation is fair? 4 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 6c) not very much

4 d) not at all 5. Do you think this method of evaluation prepares you for the workplace? 0 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 10 c) not very much 4 d) not at all Part 2: Quizzes and Assignments 6. Did this evaluation method help you to understand the material? 6 a) very much 8 b) somewhat 4 c) not very much 2 d) not at all 7. Did this evaluation method appropriately evaluate your understanding of the material? 4 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 8 c) not very much 2 d) not at all 8. Did this evaluation method reflect the material covered in the course? 6 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 6 c) not very much 2 d) not at all 9. Do you feel this method of evaluation is fair? 6 a) very much 8 b) somewhat 4 c) not very much 2 d) not at all 10. Do you think this method of evaluation prepares you for the workplace? 4 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 8 c) not very much 2 d) not at all

Part 3: Attendance 11. Did this evaluation method help you to understand the material? 2 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 6 c) not very much 6 d) not at all 12. Did this evaluation method appropriately evaluate your understanding of the material? 0 a) very much 2 b) somewhat 4 c) not very much 14 d) not at all 13. Did this evaluation method reflect the material covered in the course? 0 a) very much 2 b) somewhat 2 c) not very much 16 d) not at all 14. Do you feel this method of evaluation is fair? 4 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 6 c) not very much 4 d) not at all 15. Do you think this method of evaluation prepares you for the workplace? 2 a) very much 2 b) somewhat 4 c) not very much 12 d) not at all Part 4: Working as Part of a Team 16. Did this evaluation method help you to understand the material? 8 a) very much 8 b) somewhat 2 c) not very much 2 d) not at all

17. Did this evaluation method appropriately evaluate your understanding of the material? 2 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 5 c) not very much 7 d) not at all 18. Did this evaluation method reflect the material covered in the course? 6 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 4 c) not very much 4 d) not at all 19. Do you feel this method of evaluation is fair? 4 a) very much 4 b) somewhat 6 c) not very much 6 d) not at all 20. Do you think this method of evaluation prepares you for the workplace? 10 a) very much 6 b) somewhat 2 c) not very much 2 d) not at all 21. How often have you participated in team assignments? 0 a) very often (over 75% of assignments) 0 b) fairly often (between 50% and 74% of assignments) 0 c) average (between 21% and 49%) 12 d) not often (greater than 0 but less than 20%) 8 e) not at all