Work together, but succeed alone

Professors shouldn’t assume that every student is making an equal effort to contribute to group work.

Maddie Eaton

The majority of students seem to dread group projects more than any other type of assignment. This is especially true if all your group members fail to contribute a substantial amount of work to what is supposed to be a team effort. 
In my experience, dilemmas such as these happen more often than not. Unfortunately, professors rarely grade group projects according to individual effort. 
I recognize that there are some extremely valuable reasons why professors often choose to incorporate collaborative work into their curricula. In the workplace, for example, employers could task you to work in groups — and sometimes your partners are people with whom you don’t necessarily work well. 
Group projects not only teach students how to work efficiently with a group but also help them learn to plan, assign roles and hold each other accountable for getting work done. 
However, professors should definitely start utilizing a more lenient grading scale when determining group project scores. There are always going to be students who choose to put in more effort than others. They shouldn’t receive penalties simply because their cohorts are lazy and unwilling to dedicate as much energy to the project. 
Perhaps it would work well for professors to lessen the impact of group projects on final grades. That way, students who put in an appropriate amount of work don’t need to worry about whether they have unreliable partners. 
This grading system would help students develop a more positive outlook on group work and learn to enjoy it more freely — perhaps allowing them to realize just how important teamwork is to their future careers.
Maddie Eaton welcomes comments at [email protected].