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Friday, August 13, 2010

Educators question significance of grades for homework

Interesting. Many years ago when I was in school well from elementary school through college, homework was life or death. Many teacher will threaten to hold you back for not doing it. I didn't care about the grade incentive, but what would happen if you removed it? Why remove the grade incentive anyway?

Educators say many of the daily assignments measure a student's work ethic more than knowledge. Besides, they say, some papers come back with an obvious assist from mom and dad.

"Don't get me wrong. I think homework is very important," Dehn said. "But the thing is, you don't know how much was done by a parent or someone else."

The shift upends years of tradition where teachers assigned homework, parents hounded kids to do it and students got graded based on what they turned in. That can make the change a tough sell to parents and educators who see homework as an important responsibility lesson and worry that kids may blow off assignments if they are not graded.

"People like to hold on to these things, these ideas of: 'That's how we do school. We have homework and we give grades,' said Lisa Cerauli, director of teaching and learning at Hawthorn School District 73. "It's hard to change that expectation of what school should look like."

Among those who have concerns is Lisa Kornfeind of Bolingbrook. She said homework counts for 10 percent of her high school daughter's grade, and she worries that might not be enough. She believes grades reinforce the message that students should take assignments seriously.

"If it counted for more, I'm sure more kids would get it done. And if you don't do homework, how will you remember what you learned?" Kornfeind said.
I don't have children yet, but even if homework didn't count for grades I still would want them to do their work. They don't learn anything if they don't hit the books when they get home.

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