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Posted on September 14, 2012 9:55 pm
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Zafer Unal
Zafer Unal
Reps: 953
Planning and Managing Student Homework (Assignments)
By definition, homework constitutes the out-of-class activities that the teachers assign to students. These activities are an extension to schoolwork. Homework can include practice assignments that emphasize newly acquired skills. It can be in the form of preparation assignments to make students ready for class activities. Projects that have to be worked on in parallel with schoolwork also form a part of homework. This project work may continue throughout the term or the entire academic year. In these activities students apply their academic skills to create a piece of work through research.

When used effectively, homework provides many benefits including but not limited to.
•gives students another opportunity to review the class material
•helps students prepare for the next day learning material
•helps students show their knowledge and skills when they cannot find the opportunity in class (shy, short time)
•helps students become independent learner
•gives students another opportunity to review the class material
•gives parents a chance to see what is being learned in school
•teaches students to take responsibility for their education
•helps students develop time management
•helps with peer-interaction (group work)
•teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action
•fulfills public, district and state expectations.

However, in order to use homework effectively, teachers must know how to plan and manage student homework. The following steps are guide to planning and managing student homework effectively.

Step 1: Planning for the homework
Teachers should plan each homework before announcing to the students. This step is especially crucial for long term assignments such as projects and term papers. The preparation includes the following steps:.

Always start with objectives of homework: Before deciding on a homework, teachers should think about determining what students will gain from the homework. The nature and construction of each assignment should reflect the learning goals you articulated when you created your course curriculum. This will help teachers match the homework activity with a learning goal, assign appropriate homework at instructional levels that match students' skills and provide positive consequences for homework completion, and help students understand why the homework is given and why it is important for them.

Create list of problems/topics for students to work through rather than asking them to come up with: When students are asked to choose a topic to work on or problem to solve on their own such as a science project, it takes a lot of time for students to come up with a topic that they would like to work on. Many times, they will choose a topic and change their mind later on delaying the project completion and causing waste of time and effort because they learned that the topic they choose may need more time than they need, costs a lot, un-doable due to some reasons etc. However, when teacher lists some appropriate topics for the project and let students choose a topic from the list with the option of choosing their own, things will certainly get easier. Students focus on the list and they spend less time during decision making. Therefore, students can start the project very quickly.

Create a handout detailing homework instructions: Teachers should present each homework in writing clearly outlining the assignment description, specific expectations, form and format of the assignment (pencil, pen, typed, type of paper etc.), how many pages etc. including the due dates on top. If the assignment is a group project, the handout should provide the list of divided work for each individual member. Handouts also help students and teacher when students miss class during assignment announcement.

Build Rubric or Checklist for grading: A rubric or evaluation checklist is needed whenever possible in order to help students understand what level of quality is expected from them. Using rubric or checklist allows teachers to make more precise and useful measurements because, unlike conventional grading methods in the areas of language arts and reading, rubric or checklist list criteria necessary to attain graduated levels of mastery. In addition, using these tools gives teachers the ability to set up criteria for each phase of an assignment. For example, when evaluating an oral presentation, the teacher assigns a grade based on a number of factors, including vocal projection, content, nonverbal language, and the ability to capture and maintain audience attention. The teacher can construct the rubric or evaluation checklist to list each of these criteria with varying levels of performance, ranging from, for example, “fails to make eye contact” to “uses facial gestures to emphasize remarks” under the nonverbal language area.

Have a completed project (sample) ready: Students understand what to do much better when they see an example of the end product they will be building. Whether it is a science project or term paper, showing students a completed version of an assignment beforehand will help them understand the expectations better. One sample can be shown to all students or pass around during assignment announcement.

Decide on a due date: Based on your previous experience with the assignment, teachers should be able to come up with a reasonable due date for the given homework.

Plan for consequences for late or incomplete work: No matter how carefully you plan the entire process, teachers should always be decision-ready for consequences for late or incomplete work. Partial grade? Extension of due date with lower maximum possible score?
While some teachers prefer to choose the policy of “No late submission, period” because they believe that they are teaching students “important life lesson” by not accepting late assignments, others choose to use penalty for each day the student is late such as 10% grade penalty a day. It is up to the teacher to choose what policy to follow however, it is important to consider that each policy has important implications. For instance, the first policy “No late submission, period” leaves no room for students to even try completing their homework after the due date. However, it should be recognized that when a student is given another chance to submit their work, and s/he actually returns it the next day knowing that a penalty will be applied to her/his score, it still shows that students is trying to be responsible for his/her work. Remember, a student not showing any interest at all, is not expected to show up with the completed work the next day anyway. On the other hand, the second policy “extension with penalty” creates the problem of leaving less room for the next assignment or other assignments from other classes. For example, if a student is still working on a late assignment, then probability of the second assignment being completed late will be much higher. Therefore, late assignment submission becomes a habit. Again, it is up to the teacher to choose the late submission policy, the important thing is that once chosen, teachers should be firm on their policy.

Step 2: Announcing the Homework
In order to receive the highest return rate from an assignment given to students, teachers should also plan the announcing the homework. The following strategies would be helpful.

Show and tell: In addition to telling students what the assignment is, and providing the handouts, teachers should post instructions on a board or projector. A short PowerPoint presentation can be displayed on projector detailing the assignment requirements. This will also gives students a chance to ask their questions and discuss any concerns they may have.

Go over rubric or evaluation checklist: Just because you have prepared a rubric or checklist does not mean students will have the full understanding of what to do. Teachers should go over the evaluation tool and explain step by step how their assignment will be evaluated.

Show sample product: Assuming that you have a completed end product (from last year), show the sample to your students and explain that their project will be similar.

Discuss the due date: Explain what the due date for the assignment and ask for their confirmation on whether it is reasonable. Even though this would be easier to do this with higher grade students, it certainly creates a positive environment.

Discuss consequences for late or incomplete work: Clearly describe your policy and let students know you are firm about your decisions. However, also consider special circumstances where exceptions can be made (death in family, long term sickness etc.).

Plan for absent students: When absent, students miss instruction, directions for assignments, and assistance they need. For large-critical assignments, teachers should establish time to meet with students to explain missing assignment and assist them with instruction they have missed. In addition teachers should prepare in advance if absent students are expected due to religious holidays etc.

Step 3: Monitoring Homework Progress
One of the biggest barriers for getting a high return rate on given assignment is that students usually do not start on their work until the due date gets closer. This is why teachers should always consider a process for monitoring assignment progress especially for long-term assignments.

Create checkpoints: One of the effective methods is to create checkpoints where student work or report is collected at each stage and feedback is provided. In order to accomplish this, teacher can create several dates (monthly report on a three-month science project) for students to provide a small report on their work completed so far. Teacher should determine the specific requirements for each checkpoint and ask students to bring their progress report with evidences (data, pictures etc.).

Provide feedback at each checkpoint: When students provide their work progress during each checkpoint, teacher should provide detailed feedback so that students know they are on the right track. This will help eliminate the errors or misunderstanding for the assignment requirements. Teacher should remember that if s/he expects students to submit reports on time, then s/he must be prompt in returning the feedback to them.

Step 4: Collecting Homework
Stay firm with the due date: Considering that you set a reasonable due date for the assignment completion, and confirmed it with your students, due date should not change. Constantly changing assignment due dates should be avoided at all costs.

Collect homework at the beginning of class: If you wait until the end of the class session, students will feel they can come late and still get the assignment in “on time” or borrowing another students ideas/assignments.

Step 5: Homework Evaluation and Feedback

Evaluate work as stated: If a teacher constructed a rubric for the assignment evaluation, then the rubric should be the tool for evaluating the work. Teachers should avoid requiring additional evaluation criteria, extra points for additional work especially during or after the announcement of the assignment as it will confuse the students.

Evaluate timely: Again, if teacher expects students to submit assignments on time, then s/he must be prompt in evaluating and returning the feedback to them. Provide a deadline and stick with it.

Provide detailed feedback: Students are expected to spend a lot of time on their assignments and without providing detailed feedback such as “great job, keep up the good work” should simply be avoided. Feedback should be constructive and not subjective, specific and clear, and about something students can change for their future work. Providing detailed feedback has many benefits: It encourages students and build their confidence by letting them know what they are doing well, supports them in diagnosing their strengths and weaknesses, keep them on track so they meet the course goals and unit objectives and help them improve future performance. It is vital that feedback is provided to students before the next assignment is due so that they have time to digest your feedback and integrate it into the next assignment.

Step 6: Solving Problems with Homework Completion
Every teacher dreams of receiving 100% on assignment return rate. However, teachers should expect the unexpected. When a student stops doing homework, teachers should take actions.

Step 1. First things first, talk with student: Before doing anything else, teacher should talk with student regarding this issue. The conversation should be friendly, and encouraging rather than controlling. Teacher should inform the student about the issue and be firm that work should be done.

Step 2. Get student confirmation/signature: When a student stops submitting assignments, teachers should make sure that student acknowledges his/her action. This can be accomplished by simply having a short conversation with the student, marking the missing work in front of the student on gradebook, or getting the confirmation in writing. Even though this is not a general practice in schools, it can save lots of headache later on in difficult situations such as parents claiming assignment was completed on time etc.

Step 3. Call parents or send a note home: Especially for long term assignments, teachers should ensure that parents are informed about missing work. Asking students to return the written missing work notice with parent’s signature is recommended. Teachers should not wait until the report card period assuming that it will alert parents for positive action.
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Comments posted for this article: 53

vaLury
vaLury
Reps: 101
I like how the steps are listed out in detail on the procedures one should use when assigning homework. I feel that not all teachers consider these steps when handing out homework to students.
  Posted on: February 11, 2013 9:51 pm

hujupu
hujupu
Reps: 105
I believe that homework is essential to students’ success in school. It allows the students to review information and helps them to retain that information better. There is not enough time in the school day for students to review each piece of material covered, doing homework gives them this opportunity.
  Posted on: February 28, 2013 10:38 pm

Chanell Wolski
Chanell Wolski
Reps: 200
I like how all of the steps are laid out. Though you would think it's a no-brainer, I was surprised that many of the teachers i've had in the past skipped a lot of these steps.
  Posted on: October 13, 2014 6:55 pm

MaByvu
MaByvu
Reps: 100
I agree with the steps you described in the article. I feel that they are the best ways to deal with homework situations in the classroom.
  Posted on: October 14, 2014 3:15 pm

erugyn
erugyn
Reps: 100
I feel that there are so many positives and negatives to homework. Teachers now assign online homework or homework on topics that the student didn't understand. How are they now supposed to do it at home without any help. We do have to after all assume that there might not be any help in the home. But I love the way you broke it down into steps here. Very helpful.
  Posted on: October 14, 2014 6:18 pm

ezaDyR
ezaDyR
Reps: 100
Homework has its advantages and disadvantages but I think its the way homework is introduced and discussed in your classroom. Making sure students understand the assignment and that parents are not doing more than they should. However, homework can be taken advantage of and done in a sloppy manner and turn it in to get the grade. Or students can use that as their practice and actually gain a lot of knowledge from homework also.
  Posted on: October 16, 2014 12:22 am

Heather Long
Heather Long
Reps: 103
Homework needs to be effective. We grade homework for completion but only having a 6 students helps monitor with homework progress.
  Posted on: October 18, 2014 12:27 am

uLyJaj
uLyJaj
Reps: 99
Giving homework is an important part of school. As teachers, we need to ensure the homework we give will help the student and be effective.
  Posted on: October 26, 2014 1:24 pm

yHeGyV
yHeGyV
Reps: 100
As others have mentioned, homework does have it's pros and cons. It is important to know why and how it is going to be assigned. This was a very informative post. Thank you!
  Posted on: February 17, 2015 6:41 pm

Danielle Brock
Danielle Brock
Reps: 100
Providing homework for students is very important. It helps them understand the whole concept more.
  Posted on: February 24, 2015 4:06 pm

eQyVuj
eQyVuj
Reps: 200
Yes, I completely agree with your post. Homework is crucial for students to participate in going through school.
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 12:40 am

myqydy
myqydy
Reps: 102
I have a love and hate relationship with homework. You outlined very detailed steps for the implementation of successful homework. You also had very valid evidence that proved the necessity of homework. That being said, planning relevant homework tasks is very time consuming for teachers and many times students do not complete it or get their parents to do it for them. Also as a parent, there is so little time for homework and it is such a chore. I like spending quality time with my children and they do not even get home until 4:30! After dinner and homework we have so little time to even read a book before 7:30 bedtime! I understand its value. I just wish there was more time in the day and the parents of my students understood its value as well.
  Posted on: March 9, 2015 3:34 pm

unuhaj
unuhaj
Reps: 102
I agree with many of your benefits of homework. Homework is a useful but can be ineffective if not implemented the appropriate way.
  Posted on: March 10, 2015 12:15 pm

yQadyH
yQadyH
Reps: 128
Great job on listing the steps. Very easy to read and understand.
  Posted on: March 12, 2015 1:49 am

Randall McCarty
Randall McCarty
Reps: 3
Homework is a pick-your-battle kind of thing. As one writer said, it's a love-hate thing. I give little homework because I don't want to deal with excuses for not bringing it, keeping up with who hasn't, being consistent with discipline for who doesn't submit it, deciding what to grade, how to grade, and when to grade it, and the struggle with expectations. When I do assign it, I expect it to be done, and it is critical for the next days lesson. If students do not do it, then it totally crashes the next day and I have to take class time to address what should have been done at home. However, because I am a different bread of teacher, I allow students to make up or redo any assignment for the first 8 weeks of a 9 weeks. This is another reason why I don't assign much, because it will give me more to deal with later rather than sooner.
  Posted on: March 14, 2015 3:42 am

ugevyX
ugevyX
Reps: 101
Your homework steps are very beneficial.
  Posted on: March 15, 2015 2:22 am

ybereD
ybereD
Reps: 104
I agree with the steps you have listed above. I homework is an essential component of a student's learning process. However, teachers seem to struggle with notion of getting students to complete and turn in homework. I believe following the steps and guidelines listed above will be a step in the right direction for many teachers.
  Posted on: March 15, 2015 1:18 pm

ymuTyZ
ymuTyZ
Reps: 102
Using this next week!
  Posted on: March 16, 2015 12:01 am

WuGusa
WuGusa
Reps: 100
I think homework is important. Homework should not be assigned just for the sake of busy work it should be assigned to make sure that students are being challenged in their work. This should give teachers the opportunity to check what information the students are retaining and it should also be planned ahead of time. If the teacher isn't prepared the student's won't be prepared.
  Posted on: September 28, 2015 10:32 pm

Holly Ebbert
Holly Ebbert
Reps: 225
I think this is a great post about homework. The most helpful part for me was breaking done how to deal and plan for consequences for not doing homework. Homework is key for student review. I really enjoyed reading this post!
  Posted on: October 3, 2015 11:35 pm

adenar
adenar
Reps: 104
This article has some greta suggestions
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 10:34 pm

Caitlyn Bogatin
Caitlyn Bogatin
Reps: 100
I like the steps you give, especially the first one, during my first internship my CT didn't plan for homework very often and that reflected because when she did give it, many students would not do it.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 1:55 am

Thomas Smallwood
Thomas Smallwood
Reps: 82
Good article.
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 12:08 am

meXyHy
meXyHy
Reps: 158
I really enjoy how this has been put into a step-by-step process.
  Posted on: October 15, 2015 8:30 pm

eSyTyt
eSyTyt
Reps: 101
I really enjoyed this and will use some of these tips in my classroom as a future teacher.
  Posted on: October 16, 2015 12:54 am

aTeRaz
aTeRaz
Reps: 201
Thank you for writing this article. I find it to be most informative as to how to assign homework or classwork as well. I will definitly add this knowledge to my toolbox.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 4:38 pm

yseHug
yseHug
Reps: 100
I think this is all very helpful information. I usually don't mind homework as long as I don't feel like it is tedious and teaching me nothing. I enjoy brushing up on what I learned in class for the week and I like feeling prepared for tests and quizzes.
  Posted on: October 18, 2015 4:39 am

Henry Hobby
Henry Hobby
Reps: 82
Homework should not be given as busy work. It should beneficial in increasing student knowledge. I like to assign homework on Monday and have it due on Friday. This gives students plenty of time to complete the assignments.
  Posted on: October 18, 2015 6:56 pm

gudure
gudure
Reps: 11
This is a very beneficial read for a better understanding of homework and how to properly construct the assignments.
  Posted on: October 19, 2015 3:11 am

WubuLe
WubuLe
Reps: 100
This article is accurate. I would advise using rubrics to grade and provide instant feedback.
  Posted on: October 19, 2015 3:29 am

ZuTyse
ZuTyse
Reps: 9
As a mathematics teacher, homework is necessary to provide the skills and knowledge needed to strengthen understanding and comprehension. Your steps are crucial for implementing homework into our daily instructional practice.
  Posted on: November 3, 2015 1:51 pm

apazeR
apazeR
Reps: 200
Rubrics are a very great way to set expectations. I will definitely be using these
  Posted on: February 23, 2016 3:37 am

Taylor Katsarelas
Taylor Katsarelas
Reps: 102
When assigning homework it is good to have a rubric for both you and your students to better help the student understand what they need to do and for you as a teacher to see who understood what needed to be done.
  Posted on: February 24, 2016 1:28 am

edeBaS
edeBaS
Reps: 200
Rubrics are always a great way to set the classroom up for success. THe more detaied we are with planning, the more successful we are as teachers.
  Posted on: February 26, 2016 5:00 pm

useZyt
useZyt
Reps: 207
Even though we might all hate homework, it is essential in the learning process. Students need to develop skills even when they aren't at school. It is also a great way to get parents involved.
  Posted on: March 6, 2016 11:57 pm

apamat
apamat
Reps: 100
I think using a rubric and homework is a great idea! I will definitely use these tips in my classroom one day
  Posted on: March 7, 2016 12:35 am

yDydez
yDydez
Reps: 100
This is very beneficial and I will definitely be using these steps in my classroom.
  Posted on: October 4, 2016 4:51 pm

yZaHuM
yZaHuM
Reps: 100
I never enjoyed doing it and I know that I wasn't alone in my thoughts. I personally believe homework is necessary, however, their is a lot of recent research that states otherwise.
  Posted on: October 8, 2016 3:48 pm

sazaXa
sazaXa
Reps: 200
I find it very important to have a procedure with homework such as turning it into the same place at the same time daily. It's also important to be real when it comes to homework like not giving too much and realizing that I need to stick to my own schedule and be sure assignments are turned in on time.
  Posted on: October 12, 2016 6:42 pm

yneLaH
yneLaH
Reps: 202
This post is very useful because of the real-world use and dynamics of how to promote, explain, and expand on homework. I think the points about explaining the ideas to students and making sure they understand. Students sometimes need that extra explanation and reminder to be able to do their homework. In addition, it is important to provide outside resources and other forms of help to the student (and parent) if they were to need it.
  Posted on: October 13, 2016 1:29 am

Nicole McVey
Nicole McVey
Reps: 201
There are many point in here that a new teacher may not have thought off on their own for example: planning for an absent student. It happens unpredictable so assignments, homework, etc. must be organized and together for things that cannot be planned like absenteeism.
  Posted on: October 13, 2016 11:47 pm

Husava
Husava
Reps: 180
Great article, thank you.
  Posted on: October 14, 2016 7:00 pm

uQaMeV
uQaMeV
Reps: 200
I agree with the information shared in this article.
  Posted on: February 20, 2017 6:09 pm

nick morse
nick morse
Reps: 200
great article!
  Posted on: February 24, 2017 4:24 pm

nydyra
nydyra
Reps: 202
Offering a variety of homework techniques is as important as differentiating instruction. Students need many opportunities that work for them when completing homework, as well as they need strict rules to follow with completion of homework.
  Posted on: February 25, 2017 6:00 pm

yLeBun
yLeBun
Reps: 200
I completely agree, everything is laid out perfectly why teachers are not using this regularly makes no sense.
  Posted on: February 25, 2017 10:28 pm

eqeJaQ
eqeJaQ
Reps: 100
I really enjoyed reading this article. I think having a procedure for homework is very important.
  Posted on: March 1, 2017 1:09 am

aDuZyJ
aDuZyJ
Reps: 99
I believe homework is important to give the students, finding the right balance of what is not too much or too little is important.
  Posted on: March 3, 2017 10:45 pm

Jenna Herberson
Jenna Herberson
Reps: 200
I really like how this post began with the benefits of homework and then went into how to properly assign homework to achieve these benefits.
  Posted on: March 5, 2017 8:45 pm

Andrea Howey
Andrea Howey
Reps: 201
Great read! This will help me one day in my classroom!
  Posted on: March 6, 2017 1:54 am

azuTen
azuTen
Reps: 217
Great post!
  Posted on: October 8, 2017 6:10 pm

eqeLeQ
eqeLeQ
Reps: 116
I really like how this shows the benefits of homework for students. It gives a very good and clear idea on how to set classwork and homework.
  Posted on: October 16, 2017 12:20 am

zuMyJe
zuMyJe
Reps: 100
Great Post!
  Posted on: October 16, 2017 3:36 am

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