Grouping For Effective Learning

Jaye Parks

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Benchmark Data-Create Groups-Targeted Instruction

These were created this summer by a Curriculum Intern, Pamela Johnson

Using Resources to Personalize Instruction

These were created this summer by a Curriculum Intern, Pamela Johnson


Checklist for Managing Group Work Effectively

What to do before the activity/assignment:

  • Set guidelines for student-student and student-instructor interactions during group work and associated class discussions. Provide guidelines and solicit student feedback and suggestions for additional guidelines.
  • Provide written and verbal instructions, including time limits and deadlines. Check for understanding of instructions and clarify confusion before starting the activity. Clearly set expectations for individual and group preparation, attendance, products and deliverables, and performance (including grading criteria, if applicable).
  • Explain the motivation and learning goals for the activity. Explain why it is important to spend time in on this group activity. Provide a meaningful context for the activity with respect to course content or real-world applications or relevance.
  • Establish accountability for both individual and groups.
  • Provide students with the necessary resources to succeed. Teach any new content or skills that are required to complete the activity and provide any resources (e.g., readings, video clips, lab equipment) needed to prepare for the activity.

What to do during the assignment/activity:

  • Actively engage and monitor groups. Check for understanding frequently and clarify instructions or confusion. Visit all groups regularly. Facilitate, assist, mediate, intervene, and redirect groups as needed.
  • Frequently provide feedback to groups and individuals.

What to do after the assignment/activity:

  • Debrief the activity with the entire class. Revisit the learning goals. Summarize and synthesize the main lessons. Connect the learning to previous knowledge, real-world applications or motivational contexts.
  • Assess student learning informally or formally. Use non-graded classroom assessment techniques (e.g., minute paper/muddiest point) or graded group or individual products to assess student learning.
  • Provide feedback to individuals and groups regarding both group process and products.
  • Provide students with opportunities to reflect on their learning as well as teamwork.


Purposeful Grouping