Just picture this: you’re in your final class ever at Bryant University. Only one grade separates you from that long-awaited diploma, and you can finally start your post-college career. You walk into the classroom, and head straight to the front of the room. Your final grade is a presentation you have been working on with a group all semester long. Everything is going fine except for one thing: one of your group members is missing. As the clock ticks closer to your presentation time, your member never shows. Your professor asks you to leave, and you take the walk of shame out of the classroom. You fail not only the project, but the class, preventing you from walking down the aisle on graduation day.

And it’s all because of your group member.

When I write this article, I am not talking about all groups (I have had group projects that worked really well). However, group projects can be one of the most controversial, time consuming, and risky assignments in all of Bryant. In most cases, a group project can make or break a student’s grade in a class. If just one person underperforms, it can jeopardize not only the group, but a student’s academic success.

Not all group projects grind my gears, but some things that a student will come across do. I think, first of all, that there should be more consideration taken into individual participation in group projects. I know that some professors require individual assessments of each group member as a grade.

However, this only accounts for a small portion of the entire grade. I believe this shouldn’t be the case. Professors, in some cases, have no idea how much one person slacking off can hurt an entire grade. Also, if one person isn’t involved, it can really hurt a group’s chemistry, which then affects the team’s overall performance.

My other bone to pick with group projects is the overall worth. I understand that a group project incorporates many of the lessons that are taught throughout the entire semester. However, a student’s individual contributions to the class should not have to rely on the work of others. A group project does not affect another student’s homework, exams, study habits, or attendance. Why should just a group project have this much impact on the grade?

The final issue with group projects is how untimely they can be. I know they require a lot
of work, but having group projects due around the same time as final exams is just another stress and worry to add to a student. Maybe if here were smaller projects that were distributed evenly throughout the year, it would be easier for students and less time consuming. It could also improve a student’s overall grades since they would be less stressed out.

So, group projects could hurt students, and changes should be made to the curriculum. A student’s grade shouldn’t suffer because of something that is out of their control, like a non- participating group member. After taking all of this into consideration, maybe not being part of a group isn’t so bad.