August 19, 2012

Ah! Homework!

This week's topic is the ever so dreaded homework debate.My first year teaching I assigned homework almost every night for the first unit. I collected homework and graded based on completion. As the year progressed, I was not happy with the homework load and decreased it to 2-3 times a week. Then I changed my philosophy and wanted to focus more on classwork rather than homework. I didn't see test scores drop because of the change, so I continued that for the rest of the year.

Year two. Homework has now been combined with classwork and both go under the "assignments" grade. Last year I had a "classwork" grade as well as a "homework" grade, unnecessary-what was I thinking?! For this year, I really want homework to be a bare minimum. In algebra 1, they've had one take home assignment in the first two weeks. We do a lot more in class assignments, and I have students grade each other's work. I still collect the assignments, so I can record in the grade book and to identify struggling students. In my advanced algebra class, I have been giving homework because they are doing much better with homework completion (only 1 student is not doing the work). They self-check themselves and turn it in. I have been taking off points for the number of problems missed, but I plan on changing it and base it on completion.

A couple of notes:

  • 68% of the semester grade is based on unit tests and the semester final (per district mandate).
  • My district is moving towards having students' entire math grades based on quizzes/tests/final.
  • The two preceding bullets make me want to eliminate homework completely (if you have done so in your classroom, tell me about it!).
  • Suggested reading: Allfie Kohn's Homework Myth. 

1 comment:

  1. I've done Math Labs, which are key questions based on focused objectives. These Math Labs I grade as a take home quiz type of grade. That way I have weekly papers to grade. I announce what problems will be on the Lab last minute and give 2 days to complete. These problems will be pulled from daily practice problems, so they should've been working on them the whole time.