I check homework daily for completion at the beginning of each class. This serves two purposes for me:
- To ensure that they’re doing it. In other words, to give them points.
- To meaningfully assess their level of understanding on the mathematics involved and use this knowledge to facilitate a class discussion.
My problem is with 30 students it takes me forever to walk around during the Bell Ringer and complete this process each day. Because it eats up so much time, the entire process is rushed and places much more focus on #1 rather than #2.
So, in an effort to combat this, I’ve started having a student go around with my clipboard and check homework for completion. It’s a different student each day. This frees me to drop in on groups and gauge understanding, feel out the class, and answer some questions in the process.
I’ve discussed that the honor system is in place when it comes to the homework check. I expect them to give credit where credit is due, only. I want them to get that I trust them to do what’s right.
Some teachers may push back and mention that there’s bound to be some students that earn credit for the homework who don’t actually deserve it. That’s probably true. Other than my occasional spot check, I’ll never really know. But I’ve realized that I don’t care anymore.
I want them to be accountable to each other, not me. And besides, if my students are concerned about compliance when it comes to homework, then they’re less concerned about learning mathematics.
I don’t give a damn about points. HERE, take all the points you want. The value is in learning…and I hope this is clear to my students.