Team-Maker: A Tool for Criterion-Based Team Assignment
Team composition affects the success of individuals and teams in cooperative learning and project-based team environments. Using appropriate criteria when assigning students to teams should result in improved learning experiences. In spite of the benefits, assigning teams can difficult for instructors, especially in large classes and when more than a few criteria are used. Team-Maker was created to make the team-assignment process simple, even when using a complicated set of criteria. A web-based system at www.CATME.org collects data from students and forms teams according to instructor-specified criteria.
Only Use the Criteria that are Important to You
Team-Maker offers a list of criteria from which instructors can choose when forming teams. Instructors can also write their own questions. Research has found some of the criteria below to be important to student learning. Others are suspected to be important and awaiting further research.
|Schedule||Gender||Race/Ethnicity||Grade-Point Average (GPA)|
|Prerequisite courses||Software skills||Discipline||Sub-discipline|
|Writing skills||Hands-on skills||Shop skills||Leadership preferences|
+ Custom Questions! Write your own questions and criteria
Instructors Decide How the Criteria are Used to Form Teams
Using too many criteria weakens the contribution of the others. Fortunately, Team-Maker can collect student responses on many criteria, and faculty can later choose different weights for each criterion—including ignoring some criteria. In general, instructors choose to group similar or dissimilar students for each criterion used, or “ignore” the criterion. As shown below, Team-Maker does not allow intentionally forming teams with incompatible schedules.
See How Well the Teams Meet the Selected Criteria
After criteria and weights are selected, the Team-Maker algorithm scores how well each team fits the instructor’s criteria and maximizes the score of the worst-fitting team. Research has shown this algorithm to outperform an experienced faculty member using the same criteria. Team-Maker shows a final screen illustrating how well each team meets the instructor’s criteria. Instructors can change the team-formation criteria run Team-Maker again to form new teams.
CATME Team-Maker is part of the CATME SMARTER Teamwork system, available at www.CATME.org, which includes other team-support tools. The Team-Maker online interface was developed by Deer Run Associates. This material is based upon work supported by NSF Awards 0243254 and 0817403.
Information on the Development and Validation of Team-Maker is Published
Layton, R. A., Loughry, M. L., Ohland, M. W., & Ricco, G. D. (2010). Design and validation of a web-based system for assigning members to teams using instructor-specified criteria. Advances in Engineering Education, 2, 1-28.