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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, but assigning teams can be 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 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. These are presented to students in the form of questions in a Team-Maker Survey. Instructors can also write their own questions. Research has found some of the criteria below to be important to student learning. 

ScheduleGenderRace/EthnicityGrade-Point Average (GPA)
Prerequisite coursesSoftware skillsDisciplineSub-discipline
Writing skillsHands-on skillsShop skillsLeadership preferences
Commitment levelFraternity/SororitySports

+ Custom Questions! Write your own questions and criteria

Instructors Decide How the Criteria are Used to Form Teams

Instructors can choose different weights for each criterion such   as grouping similar or dissimilar students or “ignoring” the criterion all  together. The more criteria you use weight into team making, the less impact each criteria will have on the created teams. 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 and run Team-Maker again to form new teams.


NSF LogoCATME Team-Maker is part of the CATME SMARTER Teamwork system, available at, 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.


If the CATME terms make you confused, please check the definition on the CATME Terms Instructor Dictionary page.