Learn together to perform alone
The performance of individual group members is assessed in the usual way – e.g. homework, asking questions of individuals, individual weekly / monthly / end of term tests. The purpose of the cooperative groups is to make each member stronger as an individual. Individual accountability ensures that all group members take responsibility for their share of the work. This differs from traditional group work where some members may do most of the work and others do not pull their weight.
Individual accountability is also structured by keeping the group size small – Pairs or triads.
Team members are also responsible for the work of their teammates. Work is structured so that team members teach each other material rather than just telling each other the answers. Team members hold each other accountable for their share of the work (see task, resource, role interdependence). The reward system – based on group rewards supports the inclusion of group accountability (View Examples).
Although each student performs their own test they are rewarded on the basis of the improvement in the group score. In this manner the weakest student can become the most valuable member of the group as they have most room for improvement and so can contribute greatly to the groups improvement score.
Peer editing of each other’s work and teaching what they know to other members also ensures group accountability.
Both individual and group accountability are improved when the teacher monitors and observes the groups as they work and provides feedback.