Sunday, August 19, 2012

Homework Dilemmas!

Every year figuring out what to do about homework is a challenge, and every year I've done something different.

A few years ago I tried the "Group Folder" plan where my students checked their homework against answers on the smartboard and then filed them in a folder. I'd check each groups folder, record the score (based on if it was complete and scored) on a score sheet in the folder, and return the folder the next day. Repeat daily. Eight groups of four in six classes every day just about killed me. I was spending over an hour every day just flipping through folders and trying to find missing score cards. And then I'd have to input all the data at the end of the unit. It gave me a very clear view of how each student was doing (or not doing) their homework, but it was exhausting! Homework was 30% of their grades (school policy) so a student could get a good grade just by being compliant to getting work in the folder on time. Ugh

Came to my current school which is Mastery Based Grading all the way. School wide policy says anything that is not an SBG assessment can count for no more than 10% of a student's grade. Last year during warm ups I would circle the room checking each student's homework and recording the score on a clipboard. Students had answers in the book so my expectation was for them to check and correct before they came to class. Ha. Lets just say I hadn't taught pre-algebra in a long time! For my Pre-Calc class my grade was 100% assessment. Most of my PC kids get it, you do the HW, ask questions and you learn! On one test I showed my students that all of the students who had completed all of their assignments had an accuracy of 90% or higher, while EVERY STUDENT who had missing work had lower than 60% accuracy. I still feel though that this doesn't give me enough formative information so this year...

I'm adding homework quizzes into the mix. Picking 3-4 essential problems assigned during the week for students to copy and turn in to me. If a student did it, all they need to do is copy from their notebook. If they didn't complete the assignment on time, they will pull out the book and do them right then. I'll have to do this near the end of class, so students who need time to work can have it, and the rest of the group can work on that day's assignment or on whiteboarding problems. This, hopefully, will give me another snapshot of how students are processing current skills, and will make sure the less timely students are at least working a couple of problems to show me if they get it. There are always those kids who can understand the material without needing to do the work, and this way they can demonstrate that to me.

Still not completely happy with it, but school starts Tuesday so I am just going to go with it!

1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome blog. I am currently sitting in my classroom racking my brain over a better homework assessment method. I am going to try the homework quizzes also. I feel like this will give a good balance between giving completion grades and actually assessing what they understand. Thank you for sharing!!