Grading Methods for Group Work

Students do group work around a table on computers

Once you have the group activity established, you should consider the different methods and tools available for grading group work. Below, we provide you with a few different methods and tools available for you to consider. 

Using Canvas Gradebook with Groups

Evaluating Participation in Group Discussions

  • Speedgrader: You can grade and provide feedback on graded discussions in SpeedGrader. Discussion replies will display individually by default but can also be viewed in the context of the full discussion. 
  • Group vs. whole class discussion: Once a discussion has been marked as a group discussion, the topic is copied to each group’s space within the Canvas course. These can be accessed by clicking on the group name in the blue box at the top of the discussion. Any posts the instructor makes on the main discussion will not be visible to students who are assigned to a group. Learn more about creating group discussions in Canvas. 
  • Summary discussion: When using group discussions, it is common to have a group leader or facilitator summarize the discussion for all students to see on a separate Discussion thread. Consider awarding participation points or extra credit for this additional work. Rotating who is the group leader provides everyone with this opportunity for extra credit.  
  • Advanced scripting: For those more comfortable with technology, consider exploring the use of some custom scripts created by other Canvas partners and institutes. For instance, steps 1-3 of “Harvesting Discussion Data” will walk you through the process to install a Firefox or Chrome browser to export discussion data, including post counts per student. 

Using Cybox to Grade Large Files

To accommodate large file sizes, consider creating a Canvas assignment using online submissions through CyBox. Find instructions on the CyBox technology page on the CELT website to create and grade CyBox assignments. 

Grading a Peer Review Activity

Here’s a Canvas Peer Review workaround to ensure students provide quality feedback to each other. To begin, set up two assignments in Canvas. 

  • The first assignment is worth zero points, requires the Peer Review option selected (see peer review assignment web guide), and assigns peer reviewers automatically (view automatically assign peers web guide). A best practice is to allow at least 1 day to lapse between the assignment due date and the date peer reviews are assigned in order to avoid missing any late submissions. 
  • The second, no-submission assignment serves to grade the peer reviewers. After scanning the reviewers’ feedback on the first assignment (view student peer review comments web guide), utilize the second assignment to enter the grades for all peer reviewers. This approach will help students discover how to give valuable feedback, and reading each other’s writing will vastly improve their work before you even grade it. Consider attaching a rubric to make the scores more meaningful.