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Employing A Team Performance Review To Negotiate Grades

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Teaching Team Skills Through Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.527.1 - 10.527.12



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Paper Authors

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Mary Cook

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Jim Lyons

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Kenneth Gentili

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Employing a Team Performance Review to Negotiate Grades Kenneth Gentili, Jim Lyons,/ Mary Cook Tacoma Community College,/ University of Washington


Assessing and grading student performance in design courses often conflict with one another and often generate uncertainty about their effectiveness in promoting and measuring learning. This paper describes how to effectively administer and facilitate a half-hour, open-forum, team- review session that validates assumptions about team member contributions and aligns grading with mutually understood performance criteria. The negotiation phase of the team interview rarely changes the instructor’s assignment of individual grades from previous sources of information. However, the process has been found to significantly increase students’ understanding and acceptance of the grades they receive.

Students and faculty gain insight about circumstances leading to less than expected team member performance and how the lessons learned can be used to promote better learning opportunities for future teams. Included are (i) team roles and responsibilities, (ii) team attitude and climate, (iii) time management, (iv) team member contributions and rewards, (v) internal and external communication, and (vi) setting and achieving goals. The process also provides an opportunity to address and resolve lingering issues that affect team performance that are likely to go unprocessed by the team at the end of their design experience.

Multiple instructors have effectively used the process to assign valid grades to team members in introductory engineering design and physical science classes. All of these courses feature cooperative learning activities and open-ended projects throughout the term.


There are numerous methods that have been used to determine team scores. The method described in this paper engages the entire team with the instructor or graduate student collaboratively to determine a team midterm or final grade. It takes about thirty minutes per team to complete.

The team interview session is a formal process that is designed to measure soft skills such as participation, communication and team process. Individual elements include sharing the workload; participation in discussion; attendance; effective use of time; attitude and climate of the team; team communication issues; performing team roles; dealing with difficult issues and setting and achieving goals. An extended version additionally includes assessing knowledge of the process and how well products were developed. Grades for these last two items are evaluated Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Cook, M., & Lyons, J., & Gentili, K. (2005, June), Employing A Team Performance Review To Negotiate Grades Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15429

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