General Science and Teaching

Assigning Homework in Middle School

I recently tallked to a principal in my region that stated his teachers do not assign a grade to students homework.  They may choose to do (or not do) the work, but each week students take two to three short quizzes over the topics discussed in the homework.  In fact most of the questions on the quizzes come directly from the homework.  These quizzes make up 20% of the total grade with the other 80% coming from the end of unit summative. 

What's your take on this?  Help or not helpful? 

Apparently, it has significantly cut down on the amount of out of class grading these instructors do and the quizzes give a good insight as to whether or not students are mastering the content.  I can see how this would work extremely well in a math course, but I'm not sure about a science course.  

What are some of your solutions for the completion of student homework? 

Shalen Boyer
Shalen Boyer
5050 Activity Points

Hi Shalen. The debate on the usefulness on homework has been going back and forth for some time now. It’s very interesting that a principal in your region doesn’t have his teachers grade the assignment but it still directly affects their grade. I feel that this could be very useful because students would learn rapidly to take their homework seriously and to pay attention to it instead of rushing through it and completing it for the sake of completing it. I do think that this could be applied across all subjects, but like with anything else, modifications would need to be made. I imagine that if you modify or create homework specifically relating to the content you are teaching, it would be useful to use the homework as quiz preparation. The only problem I would foresee is that some teachers may take this to mean that all homework should be solely to prepare the students for testing. With my students, about 90% of the homework is given a complete/incomplete while the other 10% is given a letter grade and entered into their report card grades. I would be interested into taking the approach of the principal and using homework as a resource to prepare for quizzes.

Maria Salazar-Perez
Maria Salazar-Perez
505 Activity Points

Excellent points about homework - that students may take it more seriously but it may discourage homework that is not "quiz prep" material. I just listened to this podcast earlier today. It is directed at higher education, but on the same idea of ungrading: https://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/how-to-ungrade/ 

Emily Faulconer
Emily Faulconer
3060 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers