Improving group dynamics with SPLAT – Q&A Hayley McGrice
SPLAT is an online tool used by students to assess the contributions of individual members of their team, as well as themselves. Using course coordinator-defined criteria, an individual weighting factor, more commonly known as a Peer Assessment Factor or PAF, can be calculated for each student. This PAF score can be used to underpin a mentoring session with the team, or, if applied to team marks, can be used to generate an individual mark commensurate with contribution.
We spoke with Hayley McGrice, who is currently using SPLAT in her courses. See what Hayley has to say about how using SPLAT has impacted group work dynamics.
Have you found using SPLAT enhances group work culture within your classes?
Students are able to work to the best of their abilities knowing that their efforts will be rewarded. It also reduces tension because students know that if someone doesn’t contribute or pull their weight, it will be reported to the academic and their grades will reflect their contribution to the success of the team.
Have you noticed an improvement in overall student performance since using SPLAT?
Not necessarily an overall improvement, I see SPLAT more as a tool to facilitate better group dynamics. Students work better with each other knowing their individual grades will reflect the work they put in. I guess it does encourage all students to contribute rather than sit back and benefit from harder working students.
We know there will always be natural leaders in a group setting, however has there been a more balanced contribution of work within groups?
Students who in the past were more likely to be coat tail riders tend to put more effort in when they know SPLAT is being used in the group assignment. High achieving and natural leaders are unaffected by the use of SPLAT, they were always going to be good contributors. SPLAT really allow these students to work to the best of their ability and not be too bothered by non-contributors, they know SPLAT will show the time wasters in the group and they will not benefit from the good work of others.
As a teacher, has SPLAT been able to assist with identifying problems among group members?
Definitely! The moderation function in SPLAT clearly identifies groups that have experienced problems and the students leave very detailed comments justifying the marks they have given their peers. The tool also allows the academic to easily identify outlier scores that may be the result of students personal issues with specific students or them trying to falsely improve their own grade. With one click the academic can drop out scores that do not reflect the feelings of the whole group.
If you would like to know more about SPLAT and how it can be used in your courses, please contact MyUni Support.