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How to assess fairly student contributions to group work

23 March 2017

Staff are invited to join a UCL-wide consortium looking at concerns about the fair assessment of students when working in teams.

Students discussing work

The increasing emphasis on research-based education at UCL brings with it more frequent group work, with scenario problem-solving and development of collaboration and team skills.

The IPAC Consortium (Individual Peer Assessed Contribution of group work), led by Dr Pilar Garcia Souto (UCL Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering), is a university-wide initiative addressing staff and students concerns about the fair assessment of students when working in teams. 

The consortium was launched following Dr Garcia Souto's presentation on the topic at the UCL Teaching and Learning Conference in 2016. It aims identify a suitable method to assess and apply IPAC, develop or obtain an appropriate platform to implement it, and disseminate these across UCL and beyond, and ultimately make the practice successful and efficient. 

Currrently over 40 staff members are involved, from 20 departments and in a variety of roles, as well as six UCL ChangeMaker students, who are either contributing to the consortium or interested in using the outcomes.

The IPAC Consortium has divided the project into six work packages to make it more manageable including reviewing literature, assessing digital platforms and trialling in classes. The members of each package meet to address their individual objectives, will all groups coming together at wider meetings to discuss strategic plans and share updates.

Dr Garcia Souto said: “Fair assessment of individuals is a common problem in the new era of education where more group work is included in the curricula. UCL has a wealth of experienced educators that have addressed this issue in several ways and with different success, but isolated. Instead, the IPAC Consortium is a self-formed UCL-wide initiative that takes advantage of all our experience and work towards a common goal – improving the student experience and making the practice accessible, efficient and successful for all at UCL.

The group has a wealth of experience in working with students, specifically in group work, and we hope the consortium will significantly improve student engagement and satisfaction with group work. We acknowledge that there will not be a single solution that will suit all cases and academic preferences, but we have identified and are currently investigating key elements in this practice and aim to provide some recommendations and support to keen practitioners.”

Staff are welcome to join the consortium, choosing one or more work packages depending on their preferences.

To get involved or find out more, visit the IPAC wiki (requires UCL login).