Monday, August 23, 2010

New Homework

I'm thinking about trying something new with homework this semester. The goal is to have students evaluate their own understanding, and have each individual decide how much they need to do in order to attain the understanding they desire. So each week I will tell them to work on particular sections. What they will turn in to me will be something like the following
  • I attempted problems: (list of problems)
  • Overall (or perhaps per section), I would rate my understanding at: (letter)
  • I had the following minor issues: (list of problem with issue, things like... algebra/computational mistake, counting mistake,...)
  • I had larger issues with: (list of problems, with work, and a description of the issue - couldn't start, got so far but didn't know what to do next, finished but got the wrong answer and don't understand why)
  • Here's a well-written (sentences, little algebra) solution to problem X: (well-written solution).
As far as grading goes, I will probably do something like check for completion - is the student showing me evidence that they are thinking about the problems outside of class? Perhaps I'll use a 0 (didn't turn anything in), 1 (didn't spend more than 5 minutes on what they turned in), 2 (gave it an honest attempt).

There's certainly lots of potential for students to not take this seriously. To some extent, I'm willing to let them, basically. If they choose to not think about the course material, they can see what happens when an exam comes. If they do fine on the exam, so be it. I'm not here to do much for the students who don't need me for help (ok, whatever, I should try to challenge everybody?). I could also use quizzes to see if students claimed understanding is accurate.

So we'll see how that goes, I guess.

1 comment:

Jameson Graber said...

I think it's worth experimenting with. Sometimes it really helps to challenge students to be honest with themselves. They can learn more that way than from having a bunch of comments on their papers. On the other hand, it's tough for a lot of students to actually know themselves that well. Maybe occasional quizzes would help dispel overconfidence among the more slothful students.