Do you have examples of questions to ask for a status report on group work?I am a teacher who uses group work. I am trying to create a list of questions to ask individual students to see what they...

Do you have examples of questions to ask for a status report on group work?

I am a teacher who uses group work. I am trying to create a list of questions to ask individual students to see what they think about the group they work in.

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Reading these two statements together, it looks as though you want to ask questions to be sure groups are on task and you also want to feedback from each student on his or her experience within the group. 

I do not know if you assign "roles" in groups, for example, the researcher, the scrivener, etc., but I would be inclined to make one student responsible for accumulating information for a status report.  If you have deadlines built in, then between three and five days before a deadline, one sheet of paper listing the tasks to be accomplished for each person could be circulated by the responsible group member.  This is probably sufficient time to get a group back on task again.

The kind of questions one asks to get a reading from individual students is quite different, of course.  You need to ask yourself what you hope to learn from student responses.  I think asking questions that could elicit criticism of other group members is likely to be a mistake.  You might ask what the student has learned about group interaction or how tasks might be better allocated in a group project.  You could ask whether the scheduling was realistic. You might ask students what kinds of projects would be better as group projects in the world outside of school and what kinds of projects are best served through individual endeavor.  I would tend to focus more on the dynamics and process than on individual performance in any questionnaire of this sort. You want the student to do some critical thinking, not some destructive criticizing. 

I hope this helps! I have had totally successful groups and those who were staggeringly dysfunctional.  I wish you the former, of course. 

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous post did a very thorough job in addressing the topic.  If I were to add anything, it would be that providing groups with a daily status report where each individual would have to report out on the following might ensure that progress is being made:

1)  How much closer is the group to achieving the final product?

2)  What progress has been made in the last 24 hours?

3)  What can be done in this class period to bring you closer to the final product?

If groups can develop the habit of answering these questions at the start of each class, it might help to create a more focused learning environment within the group setting, and also keep the group on target with stated goals and articulated deadlines.  In terms of configuring groups, I have always found it helpful to do a mini lesson on different learning styles within students.  Discussing the qualities of a sensory thinker, a sensory feeling student, and an intuitive thinker and intuitive feeling student has brought out some very interesting elements within student discourse.  I then ask students to compose groups based on the presence of each of these dominant learning styles within students.  This means that students A)  Diagnose their own strength in learning and B) Are able to assess others' strenghts.  Forming groups based off of dominant learning styles helps to enhance an appreciation of others' cognitive talents, and ensure that a healthy intellectual diversity within groups is present.

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both of the above answers provide much for you to think about when using groups.  I found groups to be invaluable to teach students to work together with their best efforts.  I used small white boards with each person in the group at the start of each day and gave each member a different colored marker.  Each student had to list at least 4 things they or the group needed to do that day. Then, the group compared lists, narrowed it to the needed tasks for that day, and determined themselves who was responsible for what that day.  At the end of the hour, they reassessed what was accomplished.  They each kept track on their own paper copy of what they needed to do each day as a record for the project.  Because the color of the marker clearly indicated what each person was doing and what each thought needed to be done, I was involved only to see where they were on their list and give help as needed.  When paper check lists were handed out 3 or 4 days before the due date, each student knew what needed to be done to finish the project and who would be doing it.  This helped me make each student responsible for their own part of the project while the group still had control of what each was to do each day.