Should We Get Rid of Group Projects?

Should We Get Rid of Group Projects?

Emma Padelford

Group projects are incorporated into school and lessons quite frequently. They are often seen by others as a great way to collaborate with classmates about a topic and to gain a better understanding of it, while still having a good time working with classmates. Even though there are some positive outcomes that come from doing group projects, there are more frustrating results that come from them that brings up the question of their worth.

Depending on the group you are placed in, there are often different types of stereotypes that people take on. These stereotypes include: the person who does the whole project by themselves; the person who does nothing, and sits on their phone the whole time; the person who contributes by doing the easiest and least time consuming job; and many more. These stereotypes are an important reason for why group projects may not be an effective thing in the classroom. When it comes to group projects, students typically have to depend on each other for a good grade. In other words, the teacher looks at what the group completed as a whole, rather than looking at what each person accomplished individually.

Typically group projects are something done at the end of the year and are put into the grade book as a final grade. This can put lots of pressure on the students who typically do all the work, because they know that they are going to have to make up for what the other stereotypes don’t do. So in reality, there is one person who typically does all the work, while everyone else puts very little to no effort into the project. This is not fair to the working student because they will either earn a good grade that the others don’t deserve, or they won’t be able to fully complete the project alone, and will earn a poor score. Because of these facts, group projects are a very poor assessment of what the members of each group actually accomplished.

Working together with your classmates can also be very distracting. While working with your friends and peers makes school a bit more fun, it could result lots of negative outcomes. For instance, when students get to work with their friends on something, they tend to discuss off topic things, rather than actually working on the project. If students spend their work time off topic, they will be rushing to finish the project at the end of their time. The results of this are a very poorly constructed project with a lack of good content, or in an incomplete project. Either way, the group earns a poor overall grade.

Often times, the instructor only gives their students a few days to complete their projects in class. This may require the members of the group to meet in their own personal time, if they were unable to complete the project in class. This becomes an obstacle for many students, because they may not have the time to meet outside of class. Students who participate in extracurricular activities or have jobs usually don’t have a lot of flexibility to fit the project into their schedule. Everyone is busy and everyone always has something going on that prevents them from meeting. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to find a time that works for everybody. Another issue with working on projects outside of class is lack of communication. There are often students who don’t reply or contribute to the project at all, which makes the other group members stress about that person’s part being completed. With a lack of communication it is also very difficult to collaborate and get the project done. All these things will typically result in a bad grade for the group.

While some may argue that group projects make learning fun, and are worth doing, the cons listed above outweigh this one simple pro. There is too much that goes into doing group projects that make them almost worthless. These issues need to be considered by our teachers for the sake of our sanity and of our grades.