Brock University -- Department of Computer Science

Policy on Marking Teamwork

This document outlines the policy that governs the assignment of marks to projects that require teamwork. A team is defined as any two or more persons who jointly agree to share responsibility for the completion of an assignment or project. The final mark for the assignment or project will be assigned to each team member. In the few cases where a team fails to function as a cohesive unit and thus results in the breakdown of the team, the instructor can intervene and determine another course of mark allocation.

The role of the instructor is to ensure that academic standards are met. The instructor is thus charged with the responsibility to fairly evaluate the skill and competency of an individual student based on accepted standards. Two primary ways that this can be done are: 1) evaluation of individual pieces of work, and 2) evaluation of a team project.

Should the project complete normally, then an agreed upon marking scheme is applied, and students evaluated accordingly. In cases where projects fail to complete due to circumstances outside the control of the team (or part of the team) then the instructor can apply some other marking scheme to evaluate the participating students based on the completed work. Some team projects require peer evaluation forms to be completed; this would then be specified in the marking scheme and the comments in this document are still relevant.

Instructor intervention would be appropriate in some of the following circumstances:

  1. A majority within a team (assuming three or more members) complains that some members are not "pulling their weight".
  2. A majority within a team (assuming three or more members) complains that some members are not present or have not contributed to any part of the project.
  3. A team becomes completely dysfunctional.
  4. A team becomes partially dysfunctional.
  5. Final project is a failure due to one or more of the above.
When one or more of the above become true, the instructor has the right to evaluate the project and assign marks on an individual basis. This may result in one or more of the following outcomes.
  1. The project is considered a failure; all members of the team receive a failing grade.
  2. The project is considered a failure; however due to circumstances outside the control of the whole team a pass is awarded based on completed work. For example: system crash has wiped out months of development; act of nature (flood, storm) has impeded or destroyed work; other extenuating circumstances.
  3. Marks are awarded to those members who contributed positively to the project. This could mean a failing grade for some members of the team.
  4. Marks are distributed or pro-rated to reflect the contributions of the individuals to the project.
The course instructor will evaluate individuals based on the completed project and on evidence individuals submit. For this reason, each student should keep one or more of the following to ensure that the instructor has ample information on which to base a decision. This serves to protect the student's right for a fair assessment should things not work out.
  1. A log book or diary of activities, like meetings attended, work completed, etc.
  2. Source code.
  3. Revision information for code and written documents, printouts of unfinished programs or documents.
  4. Source documents, like papers, journals.
  5. Emails which show individual involvement in the project.
  6. Text messages
  7. Anything else which would or could convince the instructor that the student has contributed positively to the project. E-mailed documents (dated), are very helpful.

Ultimately it is the student's responsibility to provide proof of allegations or defence from allegations. Failure to provide will influence the outcome.