Uneven workload, grade fixation impede

Olivia Summons, Staff writer

When I hear “group work,” my stomach sinks and my mind fills with flashbacks of partners’ lackluster presentations. I hear a combination of high fives and groans.
While teachers tend to preach the importance of group cooperation, it’s problematic seeing that projects usually mark the divide between overachievers and those who scrape by.
In his essay “The Folly of Team Projects,” Professor Jason Fertig of the University of Southern Indiana discovered that when a student is placed in charge of a team project, this leader will inevitably contribute more to the project than other students. Ironically, group projects are supposed to encourage partnership between students.
A study conducted by University of California Davis found that gender and tenure diversity are positive predictors of productivity, acknowledging the importance of diversity on cooperation.
But if diverse groups are ideal, how should we assemble them? When teachers assign groups, students often resent them. But if students are left to choose, they may hinder their own productivity.
Perhaps group projects are simply a necessary evil, or maybe they’re the root of every problem in the education system. All I know is that group projects trigger the phrase “here we go again.”