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What Parents Should Know About Homework Assignments
By
Dr. Sam Goldstein
Dr. Sydney Zentall

 

Believe it or not, little attention is devoted to the topic of homework in teacher education. The homework practices of most teachers are developed on the job. When assigning homework, teachers must consider at least three factors:

To some extent your child’s problems with homework may stem from the manner in which the teacher, assigns, explains and reviews homework. By understanding these concepts you can speak with your child’s teachers about how their homework practices could best meet the needs of your child. Take a moment and complete the Homework Tips for Teachers Checklist. It was designed to help parents identify the practices your child’s teacher uses in assigning homework. This checklist is meant for you the parent. But it may aid you if you choose to offer suggestions to your child’s teachers. If you are uncertain how to answer a question, check with your child or the child’s teacher.

HOMEWORK TIPS FOR TEACHERS CHECKLIST

1. Does the teacher provide the purpose of an assignment?

___Yes ___No ___DK


2. Is the due date provided?

___Yes ___No ___DK

3. Are materials necessary to successfully complete the assignment recommended?

___Yes ___No ___DK

4. Are the requirements for good performance explained, including the steps necessary for a long-term assignment or a project?

___Yes ___No ___DK

5. Is there a system in place for students to obtain help when needed?

___Yes ___No ___DK

6. Does the teacher provide time at the end of class for students to compare their understanding of homework assignments?

___Yes ___No ___DK

7. Does the teacher ask students to repeat the assignments in their own words?

___Yes ___No ___DK

8. Does the teacher provide time for students to begin their assignments in class at joined desks or tables?

___Yes ___No ___DK

9. Does the teacher require students to re-write or repeat directions before beginning written assignments?

___Yes ___No ___DK

10. Is there a system in place whereby students can ask for help if they do not understand written instructions?

___Yes ___No ___DK

11. Are students taught a system to highlight instructions with colored markers?

___Yes ___No ___DK

12. Does the teacher provide an outline on a weekly or monthly basis of assignments and deadlines?

___Yes ___No ___DK

13. Does the teacher have a system to make certain that students have assignment books, homework planners, or homework buddies to call in the event of problems?

___Yes ___No ___DK

14. Does the teacher offer assignments at the beginning of the class rather than at the end when students may be thinking about recess or lunch?

___Yes ___No ___DK

15. Does the teacher provide verbal instructions with visual prompts( e.g., writing on the blackboard)?

___Yes ___No ___DK

16. Does the teacher offer accommodations for students with learning disabilities or attention problems?

___Yes ___No ___DK

Content of Homework Assignments

17. Do assignments overlap with lessons from the day but provide interest or application rather than just repetition?

___Yes ___No ___DK

18. Does the teacher talk about the purpose of an assignment (e.g., practice)?

___Yes ___No ___DK

19. Does the teacher communicate with you about what is being taught and explain how you can help?

___Yes ___No ___DK

20. Are assignments prioritized so you know which ones to complete if there is limited time?

___Yes ___No ___DK

21. Are some assignments voluntary?

___Yes ___No ___DK

22. Does the teacher allow adaptations for difficulties with handwriting such as the use of a computer?

___Yes ___No ___DK

23. Are some assignments active (e.g., gathering resources, interviewing others, collecting, observing natural phenomena)?

___Yes ___No ___DK

Collecting, Grading and Returning Assignments

24. Has the teacher provided students with a system to track homework assignments?

___Yes ___No ___DK

25. Are rewards for completing homework as great as the consequences for not completing homework? In other words, does the teacher offer incentives (e.g., extra recess time or reduced homework on a future assignment) when a present assignment is accurate?

___Yes ___No ___DK

26. Do students turn in an excuse sheet when an assignment is missed?

___Yes ___No ___DK

27. Does the teacher allow a certain number of excused homework assignments?

___Yes ___No ___DK

Once you have completed the checklist, make a list of any questions and seek clarification from your child’s teacher. We suggest you organize these questions in the three basic areas of making assignments, understanding the content of assignments and finally collecting, grading and returning assignments. Your familiarity with these issues will help you be better prepared to help your child with homework.

This column is excerpted and condensed from, Seven Steps to Homework Success: A Family Guide for Solving Common Homework Problems by Sydney S. Zentall, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D. (1999, Specialty Press, Inc.), available from the ADD Warehouse.

 


The above article is displayed on this site, with the kind permission of
Sam Goldstein Ph.D

Dr Sam Goldstein, has a web site with many articles on along with much useful information. Use the following link to visit Dr Sam Goldstein, web site.

Web Site

You can use the following link to find more homework articles by Dr Sam Goldstein and Dr Sydney Zentall.

Homework Articles

 

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