Recently Jack Brown ( @TLMaths) was asking about homework on twitter and the things I was trying to explain got too long and I needed to go so I said I’d blog later about homework. It’s not that I think what we do is brilliant or the best way to do it but it works for us and I’m always interested to find out what other people do so I guess that should go both ways. Don’t be expecting an exciting post though it’s just a description of what my department does.

It’s a long and probably quite boring post so I’ve split it into 3 sections format, marking and recording so you can just read the bit you might be interested in (or the whole of it if you’re in a boring meeting)

Format

Weekly homeworks common across the department for GCSE resit and A level students. They are put up on the google classroom, printed by the students (copies are available in our workshops as well) and handed in to their class teacher. As much as I would love to be able to do it all online I like to see what they are writing and how they write it (There was one whose 1s looked like 7s!). There just isn’t a way of doing that well yet, we either need much better tablets with pens or loads of scanners available and neither is practical. Getting into the habit of writing mathematics clearly for someone else to read is really important.

The formats are a bit different for each level:

GCSE –  Standard section that covers the topics we do in class and aimed at a grade C. B+ and a challenge section for those aiming for a B+.

AS – Split into 4 sections:

Practice – 5 marks of revision on a topic that will feed into something being taught it the next week. In the example it was nearly the end of term so it’s a bit of fractions revision as we’d just done integration and there had been a few daft mistakes with fractions.

Core – 15 marks on the core topic from the week before. Week 1 we teach a topic then week 2  there is an exam question on it that is peer marked to give instant feedback and week 3 there will be a homework due in on that topic. I mostly get the questions from old paper or occasionally make them up.

Stats – 10 marks on stats from the week before, Sharon writes these.

Challenge – 5 marks of something to make those aiming for As and Bs think a bit more.

There’s an example here the front page used to have QR codes on with links to videos but I took them off and now post a weekly homework help thread on the google classroom so it looks a bit blank now maybe I’ll put something else in or move things around this term.

Marking

I only have 1 GCSE class this year and they are great. They bring homework to their Friday lesson mark it in class and write me notes about things they’d like to go over (a few of them also routinely forget so instead go to the workshop after the lesson on a Tuesday where they do it, mark it and hand it in). I take them all in to record and look over. The following week we have a 50 minute lesson where we do a revision starter then past papers and I collect together little groups of students to go over particular things.

My AS classes get the standard hand it in I mark it and then they get it back with time to go through it and make corrections as much as possible. It’s not very exciting but does give me a decent idea of how hard students are working.

Recording

I have 2 linked spreadsheets that I use for keeping track of homework, the first one called mega spreadsheet has all the information about students on. At the start of the year our MIS department download it all from Cedar for us and then I add on the extra columns for all the assessments and homeworks. I’ve also got a much simpler GCSE version that just has names and homeworks on.

This then feeds into a student view where all of the columns with information that is sensitive including the marks is hidden. A copy of this is posted read only on the google classroom and often put up on the board in lessons. I’ve made up some students to show what I mean below.

My view – Copy here

capture

Student view – Copy here

capture

If you want to set your own version up then just make copies of both fill in your details on the teacher one and then connect them. Click on cell A5 and then change the link so that it pulls in the data from your spreadsheet.

capture

One of the things I’d like to do but haven’t got round to yet is making a form so that instead of having to open the spreadsheet I can just have a form up as this loads much quicker on my tablet. It would have drop down menu at the top for which homework and then a list of student names and put in the code for whether it was done or not. I’m not sure how easy or difficult this would be with getting things to then be in the right places though. Maybe next year!

Wow you actually read to the end, you must have been really bored! Thank you though and I’d love to hear what you do at your school/college.

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