Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Homework/Classwork Dilemma

I have read several blogs over the past year that refer to the one thing or grade that most teachers hate and don’t feel like we get enough out of. The homework/classwork grade and even though I use a modified SBG to grade my students, I am still responsible for using this category as 10% of their final average. 

AS always the question is usually begged, how do we get the low level students to do homework and how do we “accurately” grade it.  I feel that this category should be an easy grade for my students, however I do not feel that should get a 100 for doing remedial tasks.

So what are our options to accurately grade this topic?      
If you have been reading my blog you know that I am a big fan of relay races. Which is a cheap way to get kids to try a worksheet, without the task seeming daunting and it works great for classroom management.  I have graded these before, 25 points for each completed topic, I usually select four per section. This has been used as a classwork grade, but is it fair to grade these for current topics?

My wife and a co-worker are big fans of and, respectively. The pros to using these tools are that grading is easy, the quizzes can be done at home, and the students can be given multiple chances to get the answers correct.

The cons are, not every student has internet access (workarounds can be found but that defeats the purpose), and students can easily SHARE answers and in a lot of cases will.

When I first started teaching like many of my peers I did Notebook quizzes, not that I want to do that again, but they did lead me to this thought. What I have thought about recently, is making all homework multiple choice, except for a few journal/error analysis questions. Then on random days giving the students a homework quiz, where I have 6 versions and I ask for the multiple choice answer to 5 questions.

Therefore, Student 1 would have 2 minutes to write the answers to  1,3,5,6,7 and Student 2 might have questions 2,4,8,9,10. This only takes two minutes, back to the board warm-up, students don't have time to do the problems in class. So if they forget to “SHARE” answers beforehand it’s too late. A side effect to this would be if you are tardy to class, you lose out on the five question quiz and must turn in ALL homework when you arrive to class. So don't be tardy to the party.

So what are you doing in your class to motivate students to do homework and is it working?


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