Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reflection on Homework as a Formative Assessment...

Michelle has provided us with many articles around feedback on her padlet, and Using Homework as Formative Assessment was really thought provoking. To give you a little background, depending on the day I have different thoughts around homework. Yes, I also think that is builds independence and responsibility, but otherwise I have mixed feelings. Some days I say to myself, it's just practice-it's ok. On the flip side, I feel like if homework is going to be assigned it should be more meaningful and provide me as their teacher with important information. Well then I get into the debate if the information is really helpful if students have had support at home with the assignment...Blah, blah, blah. I could continue, but I've probably already bored you.

In Grant Wiggin's Using Homework as Formative Assessment he brought up a few points that caused me to think.

1. He said, "What makes a formative assessment formative-is whether I have a chance to get and use feedback in a later version of the 'same' performance." So, not all task, assignments, or homework and formative assessments-only if they are ongoing. In relation to my own practice, our FMJ (Family Message Journal) is formative. Kids get feedback periodically about their writing, and then they have a chance to improve. He pointed out that any other one time assignment would serve as a summative assessment in all reality, although I don't know that I would consider that to be true based on parent support and intervention at home (which is not a bad thing).

2. Then, this article led me to think about what opportunities I give to students to show what they know on homework. I don't always use it as a summative assessment of course, but oftentimes I do glance at them in order to pull small groups and provide extra help. But, when it's just a lame worksheet, that I justify to myself as practice, is it best for kids? Perhaps if homework was more engaging and purposeful, it would be better for teachers and kids.

Obviously, I still have a lot of thinking to do around this topic. Homework falls into the third step of the backwards plan design and should be purposeful. I just need to ponder what my purpose is and what would be best.

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