DOs and DON'Ts
of homework in a standards-based class:
If you assign homework, it should be...
If you assign homework, it should NOT be...
Students should know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it. The work should directly connect to the targets for your class.
Students should not all have the same work; base their assignments on their current needs, just as you would instruction and activities in class.
We want students to want to do work outside of class; this will prevent cheating and will improve work completion.
Students are busy. Brains need time to consolidate—which means time to play and sleep.
But not-graded does not mean optional; if you assign it, it should be important, which means you need to ensure that students complete it, even if that means taking time in class. Not graded also doesn’t mean not checked; we must give feedback on homework if we want students to value it (within 48 hours, if we want it to affect learning).
When students are first learning a skill, we should be present to watch that learning and correct misunderstandings. If students practice a skill wrong, it is very difficult to undo the learning.
No student should fail a class due to homework—it’s not an accurate enough measure of learning on which to base such an important decision.