Monday, January 24, 2011

Algebra: Revised Homwork Policy

Homework is to make permanent the practice we complete in class.  Repeating mistakes in homework only makes those mistakes permanent.  Therefore, homework must be taken seriously and every effort must be made to complete it accurately.

For my algebra classes the following policy will be in effect for the second Semester:

1)  Homework will be graded for accuracy.  Students are expected to complete all assignments to the best of their ability, and to have it ready at the start of class.  I will work to make assignments shorter so that students aren't penalized with long stretches that they can't finish and it will be less common for me to assign problems where the answers are in the back of the book.

2)  Papers will be graded in class.  Students will exchange papers, score them, and then turn them into me to be recorded.  Students will put their names on papers that they grade and will be expected to grade them honestly and fairly, just as they would expect their own paper to be graded.  Once graded, all students will have a few moments to see what problems they missed before turning them in.

3) We will review problems as a class once they are collected.  I realize that this means students will not have their own work to review during this period.  Students will make notes in their notebooks as we review the homework.  Some will get their papers back to show their work on the board.

I'm trying to balance a lot of things here and so here's part of why these are going to be the new rules:

a)  Students deserve immediate feedback and review.  It's not valuable to make students wait a day or two to see how a problem is supposed to be done.  For that reason I really want to keep homework review the day the assignment is due, and not a day later when I pass it back.

b)  Grading every assignment myself every night is not sustainable.  I will still grade every quiz myself, and I will review the homework to be sure that it's being graded fairly, but at this age I believe students can share some of this work.

c)  I do not want students tempted to change their answers or work during the review period.  This is why I prefer to collect it and to have students write down the correct solutions in their notebooks.

d)  The homework grade should be a reflection of how well a student is progressing though the material and the unit. 

Lastly students will have a chance to redo assignments.  This will be reflected in an "extra credit" category and students can earn up to half the points they missed on any given assignment if they show that they can indeed do the work with review and reflection.  Also if a student has consistently low grades on a given set of home assignments I may offer them the chance to do a "make up" assignment to show that they now have mastered the ideas.

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