July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
During the spring semester of 2020, four different team formation strategies were employed to assign student working groups in four otherwise identical sections of an undergraduate introductory mechanical engineering course. The four team formation strategies were 1) random, 2) by merit, with teams based on similar performance on previous exams, 3) student-selected, and 4) geographical proximity of student housing. Students were supposed to complete three team assignments during the semester, but due to COVID-19, they completed only one team assignment before being sent home. The completed assignment was a lab which included the writing of a formal report. Performance on this assignment was compared across the different teams, sections, and individual students’ results, with the goal being to determine if certain team formation strategies have a beneficial effect on performance for both the teams and the individuals. Analysis of the data indicates that student-selected teams performed better on the team assignment than teams formed using other strategies, but the observed improvement was not statistically significant. We believe this was due to the small sample size. In addition, while there was no statistical difference in the incoming average student GPA for different course sections, the incoming GPA of students did have a predictive effect on team assignment performance. Finally, the transition to remote learning (in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic) had a negative effect on student performance, and this negative consequence disproportionately affected students who were already poor performers.
Richards, H. K., & Cornwell, P. (2021, July), Effects of Different Team Formation Strategies on Performance in an Undergraduate Introductory Mechanical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37013
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