## Contemplations on Homework

June 29, 2010

I have never been fond of taking a grade on homework, which is why I’ve always done completion grades, and why I’ve eliminated the grade for it in A3. I’ve continued taking a grade because that’s what we’re “supposed” to do to stay in sync with everyone else. It’s occurring to me, however, that since we’re going off the reservation so completely with SBG that we might as well go whole hog and stop taking a grade on the homework.

Based on what I was seeing at the end of school, I think this would be a good thing, as I was able to nudge kids into passing grades just by knocking out some homework zeroes. Unfortunately, the kids who need the homework the most are the ones who are the least likely to do the homework unless it is incentivized by a grade. Grr.

Here’s what I’m thinking to blend these two ideas together. Count how many homework and warm-up opportunities there are during a six-weeks. Double the homework number — that’s our “Homework Hero” number? — and add it to the warm-up number. During the six-weeks, students get 2 points for homework done on time, 1 point for homework turned in a day late, and 1 point for doing the warm-up. At the end of the six-weeks, total up the points, divide by the total possible, and add 1/10th of that percentage to their final grade. There’s no penalty for not doing the work, but it can definitely help their grade (someone like Maria would be able to pass with a 60).

## Revelations

May 23, 2010

I have to say, the material on both Think Thank Thunk and dy/dan on Standards Based Grading/Assessment had been something of a revelation. I am definitely going to use this for the Algebra 3 class next year, and I’m really tempted to try it with my Geometry class. I’m also going to talk it over with S to see if she thinks it might be valuable with our Algebra 1 class.

I think the reason I am so enthusiastic about this is that it appears to address two really huge needs I’ve seen this last year (much the same way Dan mentioned in his presentation at his school — a need for differentiated instruction and the frustration of assessment.

While I really liked what I was reading yesterday about “be(ing) less helpful”, if I have to pick one major change to make in my curriculum design, I think this might be the more productive shift. Maybe I can do both, we’ll see.