Sunday, March 17, 2013

homework - again

Grading homework is not for me!  How could I possibly keep up?

The school I am in doesn't want us to grade homework ... or at least they don't want it to adversely affect the grades of students who have mastered the concepts.

I'm OK with not grading and with homework not adversely affecting grades.

So ... is homework a non-issue?  Should I even assign it?  What is the value of homework?  This is my dilemma.

We have 90 minute classes - every other day.  I love the 90 minutes ... I don't like the every other day.  I am certain that my students encounter a neuralizer (http://meninblackneuralizer.com/) in between our classes.  I know my students are capable; they don't all have short term memory dysfunction;  and yet, several struggle to remember concepts from day to day.  Our curriculum is tight; we are required to teach new concepts in each lesson; there is little time for review.

So ... I envision 15 minutes of homework ... maybe 10 problems as the "perfect" solution.  It seems to me that a little practice in between classes would be beneficial.  And to no one's surprise, the students getting A's and B's are doing that little bit of practice consistently.  But the students who need the extra practice, for whom the extra effort could make a difference between failing and passing - those are the students who don't do homework.

I've tried various incentives.   Exact homework problems show up on quizzes - and completed homework can be used as notes on quizzes.  If homework is completed, students may retake quizzes and tests for up to 70 points.  I've tried consequences.  I record whether or not homework is complete in my gradebook - so that parents can see the pattern of work completed.  I've assigned students detention to work on homework.  But in the end, homework is not valued by students; the effort seems all mine to make sure it is done; and the students who might benefit the most are the most difficult to convince to do the work.

Is homework necessary?


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