Student Individual Accountability

Max led a thought-provoking Nano last week on developing individual accountability in our lessons. You can check out his Prezi here. His thoughts are below…

When a student is working on their own, it is reasonable to hold the student accountable for the work that they produce. However, holding students accountable when they are asked to work in groups/cooperatively can be difficult. They have people they can blame, people who will do the work for them, people who they do not want to work with etc.

Individual accountability is about trying to ensure a similar amount of capability to that which is achievable in a solo task, within a group/cooperative task. To try to create individual accountability it can be useful to consider if your task meets these three conditions:

  • Is the student completing something on their own,
  • Will that work be seen by someone else,
  • The work is required.

Think about a group/cooperative task that meets these conditions. If every student has to produce something of their own, that someone will see and someone else needs to be completed, then it will be easier to ensure the work is completed/identify anyone who has not partaken in the task.

Examples of these types of tasks can be as simple as asking students to solve questions in turns, splitting a larger task into a series of shorter steps which pupils alternate between, or having students scribing for each other. Many more examples of group/cooperative tasks that ensure individual accountability exist; Kagan structures can be a useful source for finding some of them.

To support this way of working, it can be useful to ask students to write in different colours or use a timer to encourage students into completing their task in a reasonable time. These are not strictly necessary but can be a useful way of helping the teacher identify if a particular student is struggling or needs support.

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