Assessing Teamwork

Today’s topic: AACSB Standard 9 Section 1 Bullet 4 (9.1.4) :

Interpersonal relations and teamwork
(able to work effectively with others and in team environments)

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducts a survey each fall asking employers what characteristics they are looking for in college students seeking employment after graduation. In the top two of the list for the past several years has been working as part of a team (the other top characteristic is the ability to solve problems). The business community’s desire to hire students with the ability to work effectively with others is a major reason why business schools put students onto teams in most of their classes. Group projects in business courses are the norm, not the exception.

However, many instructors believe that just by putting students into teams, they will learn how to work well with others. Some instructors are great in teaching the students team dynamics and how to become effective team members. Unfortunately, all too often, students are left to their own devices within the team. Whether or not a student is on a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ team, how can faculty measure how effective each student works within the team?

There is a way to not only measure how effective each student is within a team, but also a way to improve the dynamics within the team. There is an online site that was developed by experts in the field and supported by an NSF grant (https://info.catme.org/about/who-are-we/) that developed a tool called the Comprehensive Assessment of Team-Member Effectiveness (CATME). The site allows for the creation of teams based on a number of criteria as well as providing an effective peer-evaluation piece. The students rate themselves as well as their teammates on a number of criteria that are selected by the instructor and a numerical score for each student is calculated based on a team’s evaluation of each other. Instead of a single grade for a team for an assignment, a grade can be raised or lowered for each student based on how effective a teammate they were and how much they contributed to an assignment.

It has been my experience that by using the CATME peer-evaluation multiple times during a semester, the vast majority of students put in more a lot more effort into their teams and become much better teammates. If the initial assignment evaluation results in points being taken away from the student, they quickly learn that freeloading on a team is no longer a viable option.

Schools can use the CATME peer evaluation scores to measure Standard 9.1.4 – the ability to work effectively with others and in team environments. The measurement can be done for every course that the CATME is used and if used for many courses over several years, an individual student’s development as a teammate can be tracked and measured. For outstanding teammates, recognition by the school could go a long way in helping the student getting that first job out of school.

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