University Code of Practice: Group Working
Group working can be an effective and powerful way to learn, and to develop skills and competencies that are highly relevant to the workplace. The aim of this Code of Practice is to outline a set of principles for the design, management and assessment of group work. A good practice guidance document sits alongside this Code of Practice and its aim is to help and support staff to create, develop and deliver group work within a module.
2. Principles for the design, management and assessment of group work.
2.1 Programme and Module Design
.1 Schools should develop strategies for an integrated, progressive development of group work skills for students studying on existing programmes, and in designing and approving new programme areas.
.2 Programme Directors should have oversight of the amount of group work within a programme, taking care to ensure that:
- the group work Intended Learning Outcomes show progression throughout the Programme Parts.
- students have sufficient opportunity to experience group working within their programme.
- students are not overburdened with group work during any part within a programme.
- students experience a variety of forms of group work to avoid ‘group work fatigue’ arising from the repetition of similar activities from module to module.
.3 Modules leaders are expected to develop and deliver group work in line with the aims of the programme(s) within which the module sits, with due reference to the relevant Programme Director(s) and the good practice guide. Where pedagogic reasons exist that mean it is not beneficial to include a specific element from the good practice guidance, approval for non-standard arrangements must be sought from the Associate Dean (Teaching), or nominee.
.4 Where group work occurs, the following should be outlined on Learn or in the module information, and be communicated to students at the point in the module where the group assessment is first discussed:
- Rationale for the group work
- Expectations of the group work
- Intended Learning Outcomes and skills development
- Marking criteria for the group work
2.2 Management of Groups
.1 Schools should ensure that all students are provided with training and guidance on effective group working skills and behaviours prior to commencing assessed group work. This should include information on procedures for dealing with intra-group conflict and how student absence or non-cooperation will be dealt with.
.2 Module leaders should specify the method for allocating students into groups, with due reference to the relevant Programme Director(s) and the good practice guide.
.3 Module leaders should specify the agreed mechanism for group members to record individual contributions, with due reference to the relevant Programme Director(s) and the good practice guide.
.4 Module leaders should provide students with guidance relating to the minimum number of meetings, and their overall duration, that the module leader expects are necessary for the specific piece of group work.
2.3 Assessment of Group Work
.1 Where the assessment of group work within one module comprises more than 5 credits:
- the rationale for this should be agreed with the relevant Programme Director(s).
- a minimum of 20% of the marks awarded to each group member must be derived from an assessment of the individual student’s work.
.2 Wherever possible, alternative assessment must be designed to allow reassessment of modules containing group work to occur during SAP. Decisions regarding whether it is appropriate for a student to undertake the alternative assessment, or that reassessment of a group work element is required, will be taken by the relevant Programme Director(s) on an individual student basis.