A forum for discussing what's working -- and what isn't -- in standards and assessments.

Should we assign homework?

David Wees Learning Specialist: Technology for Stratford Hall

Hi all,

I'd like to start a discussion here on the benefits or drawbacks to assigning regular homework to students.

I've had a lot of discussion with educators in the past year or so about homework, and met with mixed reviews of homework. Most educators I talk to support it, but much of the reading I've done seems either ambivalent about the practice or even quite negative.

I could start off with an opinion piece, but I'd rather that each person who has a position posts it here, and then I'll post my opinion later.

David

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9-12 Alternative school Math/Science/Computer Apps

Use it wisely

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Two main things: 1) don't make it into "busy work," which is especially common with your G-T kids. They've already done it or don't need to do it in order to learn the concept. 2) Follow up with your other kids to make sure they understand (checking for understanding). This is also where a "flipped" classroom can help - you can spend your time helping or directing those who don't get it, they can help each other, etc., and you only assign additional work as needed to those who need it. The result will be more understanding, more mastery, less boredom.

NBCT, science educator

Quote: Doesn't homework, or

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Doesn't homework, or work outside of class compare to a professional bringing work home, or staying late at the office? I think in order to be successful, students must learn that doing more is always better than doing just enough to get by.

Welcome to the world of an educator, when don't we take our work home with us? In the Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers he describes that in order for someone to be great at something requires thousands of hours of practice. Is this what we want as educators? In relation to this posting, unless the students are using the information they are "practicing" outside the context of the classroom/course-there is a high chance that they will forget what you asked them to practice/or memorize.

I don't give homework, this is a responsibility that the students take upon themselves when they see the value in self-directed study.

Researching parents/pupils/teacher/institutions thoughts on exam revision

Quote:Two main things: 1)

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Two main things: 1) don't make it into "busy work," which is especially common with your G-T kids. They've already done it or don't need to do it in order to learn the concept. 2) Follow up with your other kids to make sure they understand (checking for understanding). This is also where a "flipped" classroom can help - you can spend your time helping or directing those who don't get it, they can help each other, etc., and you only assign additional work as needed to those who need it. The result will be more understanding, more mastery, less boredom.

Excellent comment. Have a look at what we are doing at ProRevision Jack. Like, Share, Comment on Twitter @ProRevision and brand new FB Page ProRevision. We launch our online subscription revision software for schools in a couple of weeks. Hopefully you will find it embraces exactly what you are saying, but using a bit of technology to help by allowing teachers to be delivered an online marked and analysed assessment on the few minutes revision homework each child does in preparation for their standardised exams. The pupil spends minimal targeted time with that sort of homework, leaving them free for more creative work and reading at home. ProRevision supports the teacher to be more targeted during class addressing only what each pupil actually needs as regards exams, and so allowing more time for creative non-exam geared teaching and learning as well. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Website on line in September with more information.

Eighth grade ELA teacher from New York, NY

I am very new to the

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I am very new to the profession (2nd year) so I know very little about this. However, last year I had to assign vocabulary chapters from a workbook to my students every night for homework and then test them on Friday or Monday. Every Language Arts class had the same assignment which didn't allow for me to own my assignments. I found this practice to be useless. First, twenty words a week is too much especially for ELL's and Sped kids. If the homework is relevant and will help them attain mastery then fine. For example, this year maybe I'll assign finishing up a body paragraph so that we can continue the process of essay writing the next day as a class. Of course, reading for 30-60 mins is a requirement.

Researching parents/pupils/teacher/institutions thoughts on exam revision

Thanks Elena. As I believe

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Thanks Elena. As I believe you are implying and as I said above in reply to Jack's as well as Mario's observations and comments, the homework teachers give should be supportive of learning, creative and subject enhancing. But the hours he quite rightly says needing to go in to drill down to what needs focus and memorisation etc... is needed as well. I hope you too will go to our FB Page ProRevision and have a look at how we propose to address that pure subject material knowledge needed to support the best possible standardised exam results, while leaving you free to creatively structure other homework and class work. I would be interested in your comments and whether you feel this will prove a useful tool. Like, Comment, and Share the page with others and please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts.

Researching parents/pupils/teacher/institutions thoughts on exam revision

Quote:I was researching this

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I was researching this issue last weekend and found a study that showed a positive correlation between homework and test scores in math. I do believe that math is the one subject where homework is needed.

Have a look at website next month and FB Page in the meantime for ProRevision. It is an online subscription tool for schools to facilitate the most effective revision time specifically for standardised exams. Look forward to your thoughts, I think it may well prove a useful tool for you too. C

High School English Teacher

Flipped Classrooms as remedies

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It seems that one of the benefits of a "flipped classroom" is that the "work" students do at home is not the practice but the ingesting of content. By flipping the format, kids get more practice with the teacher, the one who knows whether or not the student is doing the work correctly.

NBCT, science educator

Ingesting....?

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I'm not sure if I would link independent work as "ingesting." This work has purpose and is needed prior to coming to class. For instance, I assigned students to construct an accurate DNA molecule which represents them as a person. At home, students had to reflect on who they are and imagine how the DNA molecules would look like inside their cells. This activity prepared them for the lab related to extracting DNA from their mouths. At the end of the lab, I ask student to reflect on the model they created and the product they extracted. The flipped classroom has allowed my students more opportunities to experience facilitated and independent learning.

Middle School and Upper School French teacher

I agree with Ryan. Homework

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I agree with Ryan. Homework should not be given just to be given.
Personally, I don't give homework everyday and I try to do as much as I can in class. Nevertheless, some lessons may require more work out of the classroom, then yes homework is necessary and students always come with some questions which is good.
We want students to enjoy learning and to enjoy the courses they are taking.

Researching parents/pupils/teacher/institutions thoughts on exam revision

Quote: I agree with Ryan.

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I agree with Ryan. Homework should not be given just to be given.

Personally, I don't give homework everyday and I try to do as much as I can in class. Nevertheless, some lessons may require more work out of the classroom, then yes homework is necessary and students always come with some questions which is good.

We want students to enjoy learning and to enjoy the courses they are taking.

A great observation and I also think the comment and experience of Mario & "xta" very interesting...there is a lot of truth in both. But would you not however agree that one of the main issues of about Homework is that it must be seen, whether flipped or otherwise, as separate and distinct from revision for exams? The existence of standardised tests is a given and for the revision process it is necessary to set aside an entirely different time slot with a focus not on subject in general but exclusively on that which will be required for accurate delivery in the exam, both in form and content, to achieve the highest results. In my opinion, this should of course not replace the other sort of Homework (flipped or otherwise). This subject based Homework should relate to the creative learning process which could perhaps be prescribed as interacting in an authentic way by each pupil with the subject matter itself. If we see these as two separate and distinct types of Homework, I think the efficacy of the time spent working at home and its consequent positive effect on both a creative and intriguing classroom life as well as the highest possible exam results for each pupil will be best achieved.

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