I've decided to rename my homework assignments as 'practice sheets'.
I'm not going to talk about homework, grading homework, or anything related to it. I am going to introduce the 'practice quiz'. I want to get away from the negative connotations of homework and just call it what it is- it's practice and you need to do it to learn anything. Period.
These quizzes will be 5 or less problems that come straight from the 'practice sheets' throughout the week, worth 10-15 points total. I will choose the problems I think are most important- that way I can really emphasize my priorities. These quizzes will happen every Thursday. If a student does the practice throughout the week, they should do well on the quiz since they are literally the same problems, same numbers, same everything. This also takes the pressure off of me having to create something new.
I've decided not to let students use their 'practice sheets' on the 'practice quiz' for two reasons. One is that students would then be motivated to ask me how to do every single practice problem in class to ensure they have the right answers for the quiz. Two, somebody could copy someone's practice sheet on Wednesday night and then get free points on Thursday's quiz.
If a student asks me about grading the practice sheets, I'm going to ask them if they keep score in sports during practice. I'm going to explain that the practice quiz is to hold them accountable for learning, rather than holding them accountable for the practice. Different students need different levels of practice but should be held accountable for the same amount of learning.
I'm currently debating about putting the answers directly on the practice sheet when I pass it out or showing the answers the next day at the beginning of class. I like the idea that they can self check if I give them the answers ahead of time but I had some students who were really frustrated by that when they tried over and over to get the right answer. But maybe that's a good thing? Maybe I will try a mixture of both.
Practice quizzes can not be retaken. To improve low scores on the practice quiz requires doing the practice sheet in the first place.
I'm feeling pretty confident about my system and it feels like it will solve my previous homework issues, but this is just the 1.0 version that is sure to have bugs once I start actually using it.
To be continued...