Definition of Theory

"Homework and practice are instructional techniques that are well known to teachers.  Both provide students with opportunities to deepen their understanding and skills relative to content that has been initially presented to them."

     Marzano, Pickering, Pollock.  Classroom Instruction that Works ASCD, 2001

Assigning homework provides opportunity for practice of skills and application of concepts following instruction.  Homework and practice are effective strategies for students in all grades, but it is important to keep in mind the attributes of appropriate uses of homework with your students.  Here are some essential attibutes of the use of this instructional strategy:

  • Vary the amount of homework by grade level.  Secondary teachers may want to collaborate with other content-area colleagues to balance how much homework students are expected to complete each day for all their classes.
  • Minimize the need for parent involvement
  • identify the purpose of the homework so students know why it's important to complete.  Legitimate purposes for homework include introducing new content, practicing a skill or process that students can do independently but not yet fluently, elaborating on information that has been addressed in class to deepen students' knowledge, and providing opportunities for students to explore topics of their own interest.
  • Create time for homework to be completed at school before, after, or during the school day
  • Provide options for homework activities.  Students feel empowered if they can choose from a list which practice activity to complete
  • Design homework to maximize the chances that students will complete it.  For example, ensure that homework is at the appropriate level of difficulty.  Students should be able to complete homework assignments independently with relatively high success rates, but they should still find the assignments challenging enough to be interesting.
  • Always provide feedback to your students on their homework and practice assignments