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A Strategy for Administering and Grading an Individual-Group Exam

A collaborative approach to testing can foster an individual commitment to learning and to group problem solving and decision making skills. If you are considering administering a group test, but are concerned about individual accountability and the logistics of grading such an exam, you may find the following strategy, developed by G. Finan, helpful.

  1. Develop a typical exam.
  2. Administer it to the students individually and have them turn it in.
  3. Put students in groups of four to five and administer the test again. Provide only one answer sheet on which to record the group's collective answers.

    Because they have already taken the exam individually, the group test serves as a review and as a means of generating thoughtful discussion, which further enhances learning. In fact, if the group composition is known in advance, members can encourage each other to put in extra studying time and/or they can study together prior to the exam.
  4. Give groups about ten minutes less than the time frame allotted for the individual test.
  5. Compute the student's final score based on his or her individual score plus a percentage of the difference between the individual score and the group score.

    The Adjusted_Final_Score = Individual_Score + [Group_Score - Individual_Score] X Percentage]
    The percentage is based on the individual score: 100 to 90 = 50%; 89 to 80 = 33%; 79 to 70 = 25%; <70 = 20%.
    For example, if a student scored 80 on an individual test and 92 on the group test, then the student's score would be 80 +[(92 - 80) X 33%] = 84.

    Because of the higher fraction used, students are motivated to earn a high individual score.


Finan, G. "How to Make Multiple-Choice Testing More Effective." Teaching for Success. 9.8 (1997): 7. Print.

For more information on Testing, see the CTE's Self-Paced Online Workshop "Testing Techniques."

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