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Take Away Homework

Over this year I have seen a rising number of people tweet and blog about “Takeaway Homework”. Reading all the great things that the majority of these people had to say about it I figured that I would give it ago for this half term and see what I thought of it. I found this blog by Paul Collins (@mrprcollins) to contain an excellent maths based takeaway homework menu, so I used his resource. I chose 2 classes to trial the homework strategy with, one a year 8 class and one a year 9 class. I wanted to look at the take up of homework and the impact it had on the class.

Take up

The take up of the homework in the classes did improve. The year 9 homework rose from around 70% to into the 90% and the year 8 homework increased from 80% to 90%. So this was fairly positive and on this note the strategy was definitely a success. However, I’m not sure that an increased take up alone constitutes a success, so we need to look t the quality of the homework produced and the impact it has had.

Quality

I received some excellent creative pieces of homework from some of the students, some brilliant comic strips and games based around the work we had done in class. But I also received some poor, rushed, homework that fulfilled the criteria yet didn’t seem to add anything to their learning. In this respect, I feel that for most of the students homework which required them to practice a skill would have been much more beneficial as it would have helped consolidate learning better.

Impact

I informally interviewed the 2 pupils in each class who had produced the best homework and two other from each class as well to try and get a feel for home effective they felt the homework was.

One boy in the year 9 class who had produced some excellent work told me that he felt the homework had “helped me understand what’s going on better”. He had produced a series of comic strips which gave sets of instructions on how to do various things. Including one really good one on how to convert between Fractions, Decimals and Percentages. 

The rest of the pupils were less than enthusiastic about the homework. They all said that they had enjoyed the fact that they could chose what to do, and the ones who produced the good work said they had enjoyed being creative, but none of them felt they had improved their maths by doing it. A number of them did say it had helped them learn key words, but not much more. I feel then that the impact was much less than I had hoped.

In all, I feel that this brief trial has not given me any evidence to feel that that takeaway homework is a good thing, and I feel that there are many other homework strategies that can work better for maths. I realise that this brief trial is not at all rigorous, and certainly doesn’t prove anything negative about takeaway homework either, but it does suggest to me that there are better alternatives. I think I will run another trial next year, and look at doing it in a more rigorous and measurable manner, to see if the same findings occur.

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  1. July 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm
  2. July 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

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