Group Projects: The Good Students’ Assigned Pathway to Purgatory

By Emma Stinocher

“When I die, I want the people I did group projects with to lower me into my grave so they can let me down one last time”  

-Anonymous

 

Let me start with the fact that I wish I could like group projects, just like I wish that I could ride unicorns and pegasuses and eat cake for every meal without gaining weight. Long story short, group projects will never work because they fail to reward individual effort.

 

Communism and group projects share startling interchangeable principles. The most basic definition of communism is that everyone puts their goods/efforts in one common store to allow everyone the same amount of commodities. While this sounds ideal, it never works. As seen through Jamestown, an early communistic colony, the lack of personal incentive brought failure. This failure is explained by the Mises Institute as a result of “each individual gain[ing] only a negligible amount of goods from his own exertions — since the fruit of all these went into the common store — … [they] had little incentive to work, or to exercise initiative or ingenuity… And this lack of incentive was doubly reinforced by the fact that the colonist was assured, regardless of how much or how well he worked, of an equal share of goods from the common store” (Rothbard).  The same is true for group projects. Students without work ethic (unfortunately in my experience at least 1 out of 4) will know that they will receive the same grade as those, who have worked hard for theirs, without doing any of the work. Their mindset is “Why work hard when we can eat high and well off of the fruits of others’ labors?”

 

The opposing argument ultimately comes to the conclusion of this is how the work-force and real-world work: in group projects. I am here to say no. Group projects are not the same as a job. To start, there is an order of command within the confines of a job. If your lazy co-worker wants you to do his/her work and put his/her name on it, you can tell your boss, and he/she will get fired. In a classroom setting, this order is not there. Teachers will too often say that your work ethic will help theirs. This is unfair to the students and the grading curve. Doing someone else’s work and putting their name on it is considered cheating, yet we engage in it constantly in the name of group projects.

 

Group projects are unfair to conscientious students. They allow cheaters to prosper and laze around while other students work their fannies off. They are not the same as the work-force and do not prepare us for it. So to any teacher that reaches this point of the bitter tirade, please consider grading students individually.

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