Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Homework and SBG

As the year draws to a close, I look back to see what went well and what didn't go so well. Since I am doing Standards Based Grading, I have not been grading homework/practice problems. In fact, since I stopped grading homework, I have done a rather poor job of even checking to see if my students have done the homework/practice problems at all. This needs to change for next year. Somehow, I need to not only check to see if my students are doing practice problems, but I think I need to factor it into their grade somehow. At least if it's in their grade, they do make some attempt most of the time (even if they copy it).

However, I am not real thrilled about putting in some sort of homework grade. I feel that if it's practice, they shouldn't be graded on correctness. They are still learning the material and won't necessarily have it all correct. When I used to grade homework, I did it by completion - 5 points all done, 3 points partially done, 0 points not done (or not much). I don't want to go back to that - it would put a huge imbalance towards homework/practice problems based on how I do my grading now.

So, what do you do about homework/practice problems when you are doing Standards Based Grading? I know true SBG doesn't factor in homework at all. For my students, I don't think that is the best answer. How would you incorporate a homework/practice problems grade to help encourage students to do the practice problems? Or what would you do differently to ensure that students do practice? I look forward to your comments.


Tina C said...

I have my grades set up in weighted categories, so SBG tests and quizzes are 50% and homework is 10% (classwork 10% and projects 30% make up the rest). I check homework by walking around the room. If its done they get 2 points. Late homework is worth 1 point (the only thing I mark down for being late because we go over it and the goal is timely practice).

Sue VanHattum said...

I teach college, and it's vital that they do homework. I tell them to do any 5 problems (at least 5) from the recommended homework. Then I go around and quickly stamp it. (2 stamps for at least 5, 1 stamp for 3 or 4.) I count the stamps while they take tests. I also count homework as 10% of the grade. (And if their tests are better than their homework, I don't count the homework.)

mathymcmatherson said...

My comment turned into a blog post:

Lisa said...

From a Twitter Conversation with Christina Hamman:

Christina Hamman ‏@hammanmath
@lmhenry9 I don't believe in HW pts either. I've found helpful - tracking it daily, recording to gradebook weekly, but weighted as 0...Ps know, behavior is documented, your butt is covered, and no retesting (if you do that) if a target % completion is not hit.

Me: What is your target completion percentage?

CH: for my sophomores I tend to use 80%. I also require additional remediation before a retest. All parties must put forth the effort.

Me: How do you have students show you they did addl remediation? Or do they have to get help from you?

CH: they work on it, preferably in sm. groups & I circulate. Before retest day, they show it to me w/corrections, we talk about issues.
I only started this last year with Geo and this year with AP (AP is more restricted). Still learning, want to go full SBG soon.

Me: How much class time does it take for them to work on probs in small groups?

CH: I TRY to give them a class per, but if I can give them 25-30 min, I feel good about it. The Ss tend 2help each other = good start

Me: What do you mean by AP is more restricted than Geo?

CH: I do not offer all of the retesting. I just started that class this year in allowing 1 per quarter. Not sure i will increase yet.

James Cleveland said...

Why not just make homework completion a standard? I don't just have academic standards in my class, I also have work-habit standards and math practice standards.

Or focus on the practice. You could be grading them not on correctness, because it is practice, but in how they approach problems, or how visible they make their thinking, etc.

House said...

What about just providing students feedback on the homework instead of grading it? I have read that students learning has improved when feedback is provided instead of grades. I plan on trying this method this year in lieu of grading for all of my classes. I realize that students may not do the work however I can track who does the work and who doesn't by using grading software to count homework as 0% and using m's for missing work and e's for students who turn in their work.

Maura said...

I have homework as a 0% category and check it every day. Because it doesn't count, my kids admit freely when they haven't done it. However, at my school, we have a policy that retakes cannot score higher than a C- unless prior work is done as assigned by the teacher. So, if my students have done at least half the homework in a chapter, they can retake up to a 4/4. If not, they can retake up to a 3/4. I know that most SBG teachers let students retake for full credit, but I think this works for my school's policy and I see good effort from most students to stay on top of practice problems.

Mr. Russell said...

I, too, struggle with this question. I have two different solutions, used in two different classes:
1. In two of my classes, I used online homework; one was WebAssign, provided by the publisher, and one was LON-CAPA with problems I programmed. In both classes, students had several attempts at each problem, and the best attempt was scored. Computer graded, out of 10 (per week). Practice worked well; kids worked (or collaborated--randomized problems reduced cheating) until they got the problems right. If a student had averages above certain cutoffs, the SBG algorithm used to compute letter grades (required by my school) was slightly more generous. Students could still earn top grades without doing the online practice problems.
2. In another class, students had near-daily homework; I gave feedback, and recorded a score of 1 (good-faith submission) or 0 as a way of showing parents what students did; students who needed to revise assessments were required to have done any homework problems over any objectives they wanted to revise.

betweenthenumbers said...

Like James, I also have a standard in my gradebook for homework completion. I check off whether students have done their homework before we go over questions together and at the end of the grading period I figure out their percentages and assign them a score for the standard. I also mark scores in my gradebook for turning in major assignments on time.