One of the most common concerns for students when working in groups is inequity of contribution. Students often complain that some group members contribute too much (dominating the discussion to the detriment of the group) or too little (shy students or those who do not pull their weight). Often, too, they don’t feel comfortable raising issues associated with group contributions, instead finding it easier to just take on the extra workload.
Despite the fact that inequity of contribution can have a significant impact on the groups’ overall experience and the final products of group work, problems of this nature are often only discussed at the completion of the group task or project. It's much better to address them early.
The following exercise can help students’ deal with dominant group members or those not doing their share of the work. You might suggest that all groups review student contributions once or more throughout their project (depending on its duration), or give the task to those groups who have identified inequity of contribution as an issue for their group (i.e. through their checklist responses—see the Checklist for identifying issues in groups.)
Reviewing the contributions of group members
As a group, spend 10 minutes discussing the following questions:
Based on the discussion, try to answer the following questions individually, then share your answers with the group:
You can also ask students to fill out a form that requires them to give each member of their group a mark for participation and list the key areas of contribution and areas for improvement. This can also motivate students to contribute equally within their group.