Just Sayin’—- Homework?


Homework has been a hotly debated topic in education.  How much is too much?  What is too little?  Is homework necessary?  Should homework be optional?  Should homework be graded?  Questions about homework abound.

I think most importantly we need to acknowledge that the playing field is not level when it comes to homework.  I teach high school science.  Many of my students work.  Some do not have convenient internet access.  Some do not have an environment conducive to learning outside school.

There are no easy or universal answers.  Homework needs to be relevant.  Like any other assignment a teacher needs to answer the question “What’s the point?”.  If you can’t come up with a decent answer, you need to question the validity of the assignment.  Remember our students are always saying “What’s the point?” whenever they encounter a new assignment.

Currently in my class my students read and take notes on assigned pages of their text.  They are then given a 5 question quiz, during which they use these notes.  This gives them immediate feedback about the quality of their notes.  This also gives them additional exposure to the course content.  What’s the point?  Students are allowed to use these notes whenever they like, including the test.  In the words of one of my students “It’s so worth it!”.  I also give additional optional homework, but that will be another post.

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