When group projects are not designed in a way that stimulates meaningful teamwork, they essentially serve no purpose. Although teachers assign them hoping that projects will encourage collaboration, it is easy for them to go wrong.
When it comes to the planning and organization of a project, many scheduling issues arise for students. They have prior obligations such as church, practice, and work that restricts students’ availability. This is problematic as many projects require meeting up outside of class to be completed. In addition, many communication problems occur when group members are unresponsive and missing in action. This quickly leads to agitation and annoyance when proactive group members are ghosted by their partners. Group projects are already inconvenient, but when groups are assigned, not chosen, students are deprived of choosing compatible partners with similar schedules.
More often than not, a majority of the work is done by one or two people who pick up the slack of other group members. Sometimes, teachers look past individual efforts and give everyone the same grade for the project. Unwilling to risk their own grade, one person usually pulls the weight of the group in fear of receiving a bad grade. This is unfair as others take advantage of the situation, knowing that the person will do the most as to not receive a bad grade, even if it means doing the entire project.
Many times, students will divide up the work and delegate roles. While this is efficient, it does not promote group learning or strengthen social skills. There is no point in making the project a group project if students are not going to be working together and benefiting from it. When students only complete a small part of the project, they only learn the contents of their section and not the other aspects of the project. Thus, partitioning the work does not contribute to students’ learning. This method is also risky as the quality and completeness of other students’ work is out of each other’s control, making it easy for the project to go astray.
Group projects are unrealistic. In the working force, everyone is held accountable in collaborative efforts and projects. Every employee and their work is evaluated, meaning if someone is not meeting the standard, they would be terminated or punished. This cannot be said for group projects since many students leech off of the work of others and earn the same grade with minimal effort. Even if teachers did give individuals grades for the project, students do not accomplish a full understanding of material through them.