To be or not to be-that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them.
-Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
When Hamlet uttered those words, he could have been referring to homework. Should it be or not be? Is it better to suffer through it or fight against it? Do students get anything out of it? Do teachers?
Studies show that homework has little impact on academic achievement, yet many teachers still assign it. Are we assigning it because we believe it is necessary, or because it’s always been done that way?
I sat down and brainstormed reasons why I might assign homework and reasons why I might choose not to. This is what I came up with.
Personally? I give homework. Not a lot. Often just a few problems that I want students to try without me. I don’t grade it on correctness but on effort. And we go always go over it together. My student all have IEPs and most test very poorly, especially in math. We talk a lot about responsibility, time management, and knowing our strengths and weaknesses. About how if you know you test poorly, you must have some type of plan to prevent yourself from failing a class. Often that means making sure every grade you can control is as high as possible, to counterbalance those poor test grades.
What is your homework policy? What would you add to my list?