Thursday, November 15, 2007


Do non-graded assignments improve teamwork?

This week when I was looking for a study place in university (unsuccessfully), I realized a difference between the study room here and the study room in NUS, except that the one in Singapore is cleaner and air-coned.

Here students were all gathering in small groups, discussing and solving their assignments (Uebungsblaetter) together. A typical scene in the NUS study room would show people sitting in front of their books and laptops alone.

First and foremost, NUS study room is a quiet area, where you are not supposed to discuss, but I realized that there is another more significant reason why students solve their assignments in groups or not.

We have one assignment per week for almost every class. The assignments are a help to practice and understand. They are graded, but don't contribute to the final grade. Usually you just have to get a certain percentage of the total points to be admitted to the exam at the end of the semester.
So by collaborating and doing the assignments, students only benefit from each other. They don't compete among each other.

In NUS the assignments usually contribute to your final score and are more a test, that is supposed to be done individually, of course. So students do their assignments alone, and even if they would (sometimes you are allowed) to solve the problems together, the motivation is less as you don't benefit from the solution as much as if you had solved yourself (see my posts concerning relative grading).

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why dont i feel like studying
iv've no idea mayb becuase i'm alone and i'm so bored and tired. i hate it

nus sucks
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