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Less Homework is More!!!
Wednesday night, my 4th grade year…..
Like every night, 20 – 30 minutes of math homework. Sometimes, there would be social studies or science. However, Wednesday night was the toughest assignment of the week! Take the 10-15 spelling words and turn them into a story. There were times when it was really tough, especially when the words didn’t have any relationship at all.
Homework. Homework! No one likes homework. And now it’s becoming policy.
According to a Reuters story on Yahoo, http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110527/us_nm/us_education_homework, “public schools in Galloway Township, New Jersey, this week proposed no more homework on weekends and holidays for their 3,500 students, and the Pleasanton Unified School District in northern California suggested drastic changes to homework policy for the 14,500-student district.”
In many school districts, instead of eliminating it, they have just reduce the weight of homework as a percentage of the course average, even to 10% or less.
The truth is, homework just isn’t that effective. Students that naturally do the homework are compliant and not necessarily in need of the extra practice. Students that might benefit from homework, do it less and less as they progress through the educational system. Under the old system, students could have passing grades on tests and still fail the class because of poor homework scores.
Many times, teachers wouldn’t grade homework or just score it based on completion. Neither practice improves learning. It does measure compliance.
And there is the rub. Minus 10, incorrect heading. Minus 10, sloppiness. Minus 5 for using the wrong paper, color ink or not indenting. How much of that has to do with the learning? Nothing. Yet our hypothetical student’s grade is already at a 75 before “assessment of learning” even begins.
And what is a 75 anyway. 75 percent of what? In this instance, it’s not about mastery. It’s about following the rules. And in too many cases, that’s what a grade reflects: the ability of the student to follow the rules of the teacher. Mix a power crazed teacher with a defiant student and what do you get???? Yet another drop out.
Students today are more sophisticated… or maybe just less compliant. In the attempt to teach critical thinking, students are starting to get it and ask, “Why am i doing this? Why is this important? Will I use this in my life?” And all too often the answer returns, “You will need this in college” or “To get a good job.”
Sadly, as budget shortfalls in education are sweeping the country, teachers are learning a tough lesson that following the teacher’s rules has very little to do with financial success.
If you know of a student that has dropped out or can’t pass the state test, like TAKS, and is in need of a diploma, send them to http://220.127.116.11.
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