Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Homework: Accountability

Teachers discussed homework and accountability briefly. It's an issue I've thought a lot about for 32 years of teaching and still don't have a firm conclusion.

Here's the situation:
  • Research demonstrates that there is not a lot of value in homework, yet I continue to see that those who practice do better.
  • Families respond to homework in lots of different ways--some are able and willing to support homework, and others demonstrate less support or interest in homework.
  • Students respond to homework in multiple ways--some always do their homework, others rarely do their homework, and there's everything in between.
  • Making the time to check over homework is extensive and has little pay-back. For example when teachers correct homework, students often don't look over corrections. Teachers that look it over and then have students re-do incorrect problems probably get more pay-back, but even then that kind of response is very time consuming and challenging when you have a large, diverse class of learners--there typically isn't the time for a few to redo problems, and the feedback for many doesn't result in much gain. That being said, I do agree with the fact that checking homework supports accountability and good routines.
With this variation, what is a teacher to do.

As I think about this, I think I'll lean towards homework that the computer checks. That Quiz is a perfect practice site as students can practice specific skills and the computer can check it. The teacher can easily review who did their homework and who didn't do it, and perhaps have a homework make-up time for students who don't complete their homework.

Sometimes it's important for students, however, to complete paper/pencil practice. In cases like these, it might be good to couple the paper/pencil with a Google form as the google form can quickly correct who got the right answers and then a teacher could look at the papers of those who come up as not completing the problems correctly.

I'll give this more thought in the days to come as I do believe accountability is a good thing, and I also believe there needs to be room for personalization when it comes to homework completion and the many different attitudes and supports available related to this.