Sunday, September 25, 2011

Daily Assignment #78: Homework

So, have you given homework yet?  Have you established a policy about homework? Is there a district or school mandate on homework?

This is such a controversial topic.  Parents want more and more homework for their children. Teachers  spend a lot of time preparing and then grading homework.  Is it necessary?  I have read so many articles which support the need for homework and then other articles which have said homework makes no difference in students' performances.

I would like to share with you my belief and practice in regard to homework.  I believe, and please know that this is my belief based on 34 years of teaching experience and readings, that homework in the grades K-3 does not make a difference in a student's performance in the classroom.  For students at these grade levels, I believe it is more important for them to read each night or to be read to.  If you do decide to give homework at K-3 level, keep in mind that it should not take the child more than 10 minutes to do it.  In grade 4, students should have no more than 15 minutes of math work and then 15-20 minutes of reading each night.  In grades 5-6, students should have 50-60 minutes of homework.  Harris M. Cooper, professor of education at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers and Parents," says that 1 hour to 90 minutes of homework for middle school students and 2 hours for high school students can be associated with greater academic achievement.

Homework should be purposeful, not busy work.  This is going to take time and effort from the teacher.  Also, grading of the homework should have meaning and help the student to move forward in their learning.  Again, this will take time and effort from the teacher.  Students know when they have been given busy work and when it is not going to make a difference in their final grade.

I hope this has given you something to think about as you plan that next homework assignment or think through your homework policy.

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Best Effort,

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