Does homework actually help students to succeed?
As mentioned many times in the past year, Hattie’s approach in his groundbreaking book, “Visible learning for teachers: maximising impact on teaching”, is to compare the impact of different teaching interventions using a single ‘barometer of effect sizes’.
Effect sizes above d=0.40 are considered to be within the ‘zone of desired effects’. In other words, anything above d=0.40 is really worth our time as it has a significant impact on student achievement.
Homework effect size for secondary schools: d= 0.64.
An effect size of d= 0.64 is the equivalent of approximately a year’s learning.
As a rule, the impact of homework is greater if the task is concise, meaningful and tightly linked to current classroom learning.
Only as students get older, are they more able to complete open-ended activities
Key Reasons why homework matters:
1) Bridges between teacher-led and student-led learning, encouraging independence
2) Extends learning time beyond the confines of the school day
3) Creates Opportunities for Creativity and Choice of activity
4) Develops the skills required for higher learning at IGCSE IB and beyond
5) Reduces the diverging effect of home support
6) Communicates the values of the school and the teacher to the student and parent
How can we improve the impact of homework tasks?
- Ensure students have the big picture, tell them what work they will be doing in advance
- Offer a range of core and optional tasks which reflect interests, learning styles, progress and capabilities
- Ensure homework is differentiated for EAL, SEN, PA, boys and girls
- Ensure enough time is given to complete homework tasks to a high quality
- Ensure that the expectations are clear and concise
- Provide students with models of good practice
- Provide students with the mark schemes or success criteria in advance
- Provide useful sources of information, websites, books, articles
- Encourage peer and self-assessment allowing students to assess their own progress
- Ensure timely marking of student’s work providing quick feedback
References and Further reading