Assigning Homework and Providing Practice
Big question- How did you feel about doing homework? How do your students feel about doing homework?
“Homework” refers to opportunities for students to learn or review content and skills outside of the regular school day.
“Practice” is the act of repeating a specific skill or reviewing small amounts of information to increase recall, speed and accuracy.
The effect of homework on students achievement are not entirely clear, a number of factors such as degree of parental involvement and support, homework quality, students’ learning preferences, and structure and monitoring of assignments can affect the influence of homework on achievement.
There is evidence that suggests homework is more effective for older students (middle and high school) than for elementary students.
Some negative consequences:
-include family disruption of family time
-physical and emotional fatigue
-a lack of access to community and leisure activities
-and conflicts between students and their parents
Teachers must carefully weigh both the positive and negative consequences of assigning homework and ensure that their assignments make the best use of students’ out of school time.
“Practice makes Perfect” is not always true. For example if a students practice a skill incorrectly, they will ultimately have difficulty learning the correct way to perform that skill.
To be effective, practice should be overt, which means it actively involves students recalling material through quizzes, rehearsal, or self assessment (flash cards or labeling).
These are three recommendations for assigning homework to improve student achievement:
-Develop and communicate a school homework policy.
-Design homework assignments that support academic learning and communicate their purpose.
-Provide feedback on assigned homework.
Classroom Practice for Providing Practice
1. Clearly identify and communicate the purpose of practice activities
a. Practice must align with learning objectives and provide opportunity to deepen understanding of skill
b. Students are more inclined to stay engaged when they fully understand the purpose and expected outcomes
c. Students should be able to communicate what and why they are practicing
2. Design practice sessions that are short, focused, and distributed over time
a. It’s easier for students to master a skill when practice sessions are short
b. Focus practice doesn’t mean isolated practice, rather, targets the difficult aspect of a skill or process, but still engages them in the overall process
c. Students need to practice a skill at least 24 times before they reach 80% competency
d. Before students move to independent practice, check that they understand how the skill/process works=build conceptual understanding before assigning work
3. Provide Feedback on practice sessions
a. It is critical that students receive feedback during these practice sessions
b. Feedback needs to be specific to help them understand right away what process/skill they are not performing