“Individual accountability is the measurement of whether or not each group member has achieved the groups’ goal. Assessing the quality and quantity of each member’s contributions and giving the results to all group members” (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998).
Individual accountability is the factor that shows that students are learning better cooperatively. “The purpose of cooperative groups is to make each member a stronger individual in his or her own right” (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998, p. 4:17). After participating in a cooperative lesson, group members should be better able to accomplish the same kind of tasks by themselves. They learn to do something together so that they can do it easier when they are alone.
There are many ways to structure and increase individual accountability: by keeping the size of the groups small; by giving an individual test to each student; or by checking for understanding by giving random oral individual examinations. When students have to provide information in the presence of the group, the teacher can also structure individual accountability by observing each group and group member and by keeping track of students’ contribution to the group’s work. Individual accountability can be structured by assigning one student in each group to check for understanding. The checker poses questions, and the other group members provide rational answers supporting group answers. Students can also teach what they have learned to someone else or edit each other’s work (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec 1998).
Johnson, D., Johnson, R.& Holubec, E. (1998).Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.