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Restructuring Assessment Tasks for Assessing Students’ Teamwork Skills in an Undergraduate Course: A Formative Approach

Wednesday 3 July: 5:30pm – 7:00pm, poster session



Peter Lau
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong



This study aims to present a formative assessment approach for assessing student’s teamwork skills in a co-curricular  course, Society Watch Project, in which undergraduate students work in teams to perform social study on specific topics. “Division of work/labour” is a common misconception of teamwork that HK students usually hold (Zou & Ko, 2012, p. e111). They tended to have a narrow mind to maximise the team product quality by just putting everyone’s works together. They make individual efforts contributing to final product, but with minimal communication process. The fact that academic staff generally lack relevant knowledge to assess teamwork process (de la Harpe et al, 2009), and their preconception of assessing teamwork, like “extra work” and “time consumption” (Ruiz-Esparza Barajas, Medrano Vela & Zepeda Huerta, 2016, p. 37), result in a compromising practice in which teachers assess, simply, but wrongly, with emphasis on the final team product rather than on students’ teamwork development in the process.

The presented formative assessment approach will focus on assessing the process to provide more meaningful evidence to support students’ teamwork skills development.


Research/evaluation method

This is an action research study adopting mixed methods. The course was evaluated three times. Twenty, nineteen and thirteen students were involved in the three cycles respectively. Existing course assessment tasks were evaluated in cycle 1. In cycles 2 and 3, three assessment tools (Teamwork VALUE rubric, rubric-based questionnaire, and student learning portfolio) were implemented.

Quantitative data in cycles 2 and 3 were analysed by Wilcoxon signed-ranks tests. The tests showed that there were positive significant changes in students’ teamwork skills in four areas, i.e. “offered new suggestions to advance the work of the team (A1)” (mean score = 3.182, p < 0.05), “offered alternative solution or courses of action that build on the ideas of others (A2)” (mean score = 3.498, p < 0.05), “asked questions for clarification (B3)” (mean score = 3.118, p < 0.05) and “provided assistance/encouragement to team members (D4)” (mean score = 3.471, p < 0.05). These results showed that students improved their teamwork skills mainly by means of more meaningful engagement in team discussion. They became aware of the needs to exchange ideas, to clarify meaning and to provide assistance to each other.

Finally, five students were interviewed. Thematic analysis was used to understand student’s perceptions. Qualitative data supports that implementation of the three assessment tools help 1) enhance student motivation; 2) promote life-long and active learning; 3) promote critical reflection against objective criteria; and 4) reinforce retention of knowledge and future application. It suggested that the presented assessment approach supported students in developing teamwork skills.



By the end of the poster session, conference participants will be able to

  • Describe the three key assessment tools used in the presented assessment approach;
  • Discuss possible limitations of the presented assessment

Participants will be invited to complete a mini online survey to describe their understanding and give comment on the presented assessment approach. Participants could use their mobile devices to scan a QR code on poster and access to the online survey.



De la Harpe, B., David, C., Dalton, H. & Thomas, J. (2009). Are confidence and willingness the keys to the assessment of graduate attributes?. In: J. Milton et al., ed., 2009. Proceedings of the Australian Technology Network (ATN) Assessment Conference, Melbourne 19-20 November, 2009. Melbourne: ATN Assessment Conference: RMIT University, pp. 111-118.
Ruiz-Esparza Barajas, E., Medrano Vela, C. A., & Zepeda Huerta, J. H. K. (2016). Exploring university teacher perceptions about out-of-class teamwork. PROFILE Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 18(2), 29-45.
Zou, T.X.P. & Ko, E.I. (2012). Teamwork development across the curriculum for chemical engineering students in Hong Kong: Processes, outcomes and lessons learned. Education for Chemical Engineers, 7(2012), p. e105-e117.


Presentation topic

Poster session

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