Friday, March 14, 2014

A New Homework Strategy

The completion of homework remains a point of focus for some students when analyzing their achievement in particular courses. Some students find it challenging to complete assignments for a variety of reasons. When class grading policies incorporate homework grades this can have a significant impact on a student's grade. This can also be a point of frustration for parents, teachers and counselors.

Typically the goal of homework is to apply a concept that was introduced in class or to enter class the next day with prerequisite knowledge necessary for productive class discussions or group work. The goal is not to produce a grade, but to further student learning and understanding. Grading homework is an extrinsic motivator that does not impact some students. Homework that does not focus on student learning and understanding is graded for compliance.

I like the idea of providing students who miss an assignment the opportunity to complete the assignment. Myron Dueck, Assistant Principal of Summerland Secondary School in British Columbia shared an incomplete assignment form that he has students submit. This was shared in the March edition of Educational Leadership. When students complete this form they must select from a list of Interventions that are available to them. These may include extra help sessions, study hall, viewing a tutorial, or any other intervention that they will utilize to complete the assignment.

By providing an incomplete grade and a clear intervention plan to complete the assignment the student is provided with choice and a motivation to not have an incomplete for the course grade. There are many variations to this idea, but I believe this is a concept that is worth exploring with our at-risk students.