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A level Maths Homework Ideas

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by jonathan_white, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. jonathan_white

    jonathan_white New commenter

    I'm looking for ways of minimising my time spent on marking their HW in the upcoming school year.

    I don't want to simply put a photo of the problem on google quiz with multiple choices since they can easily simply google the question and get the answer.

    I also don't want to spend the precious little free time I've got on marking.

    Any thoughts?
  2. munkster

    munkster New commenter

    What do you do currently? During lockdown I have made a lot of use of reflective self assessment when marking remotely. But then I have always generally encouraged A level students to mark the brute number answers themselves, then that frees up more time for me to write formative comments about their method whether they have got the number right or not. They will invariably check their answers anyway, so if they just tick or cross those themselves it saves me the time there. They will generally then write any corrections in a different colour pen so I can see it is a subsequent attempt; that's if they are able to try an alternative anyway. Nothing revolutionary here, to be fair!
  3. jonathan_white

    jonathan_white New commenter

    Currently I give them 1-3 past paper problems and then have them either:
    a) input values to specific "checkpoints" (basically steps they would get marks for on an actual exam)
    b) give meaning to values I give them (one could say it's the opposite of a)

    All of this is on google forms. If they have it all correct, then that's fine. If not, I give them the full solutions (done by me) and they need to go through it.

    If there is a specific thing that they are not understanding, we have a chat next lesson about it.

    This takes A LOT of time and I need to streamline it.
  4. munkster

    munkster New commenter

    I think we're coming at the HW thing from very different places; so I'm not sure I can offer much - all the best with it! :)
    Boardingmaster likes this.
  5. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster Occasional commenter

    Set ex 17b from the textbook (answers in the back). Tell them to make sure they check the answers and redo any they got wrong before handing it in. It’s what my teacher did way back when I was at school and I guess I turned out OK at maths!
  6. jonathan_white

    jonathan_white New commenter

    Honestly, I don't see the point of even setting HW for a Year 13 student. If they aren't responsible enough to practice on their own, to look for examples of past papers and to take responsibility for their actions and future - society has no use for them.

    However, I'm paid to do it so I wanna do it the best I can while spending minimal amounts of time/energy doing so.
  7. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster Occasional commenter

    Hmm, to be honest I think I know better than an 18 year old what the best questions are to prepare them for an exam, so have no objection to setting homework. For revision questions though, I agree I would expect the students to be checking the answers themselves, but I would go over their work to check their working is sufficient and clearly set out.

    I guess we disagree on the merit of homework though. I wouldn’t just use revision homeworks for yr 13, I find homework the best time to give them longer, more drawn out problems that require proper thought, as there isn’t really the time in lessons. I think we do students a disservice to not give them tough questions to grapple with, and homework is definitely the best opportunity for this.

    If you don’t think theres any point in homework, why do you mind if they google the answer?
  8. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    I tutor about ten students a year A level maths and not one of them has any work (other than tests) marked. I assumed it was no longer a requirement. Homework is set and the answers are then given so students can mark their own work. Lazy in my opinion but education has changed since I was a teacher. Can you not do the same?
  9. Boardingmaster

    Boardingmaster Occasional commenter

    bombaysapphire and briancant like this.
  10. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    No marking here! We have 4 groups, 2 teachers each. Students sign a homework contract that they will
    • do the work
    • mark the work
    • do a separate set of corrections
    • email if they have a PQ (problem question)
    • staple the work or have it ready in a plastic wallet
    • Hand in the work on the due day
    Some will still copy the worked solutions, in which case they will do badly in topic tests and runt he risk of failing, but that's not our responsibility

    In return, they do a 45 minute test once a fortnight, marked by the teacher (in lockdown we were sent the PDFs and annotated them using the free "Comment" tool before sending them back)
    So each teacher marks 1 set of tests around once a month - that's a sensible marking load. Plus mocks etc.
    strawbs likes this.
  11. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    I have tutored students from other local sixth forms. At least twice, I have asked to see their folder (this is in October) and there are no notes, no homework, certainly not marked, and nothing to revise from. But what's worse is teachers aren't checking the homework is even done!
  12. jonathan_white

    jonathan_white New commenter

    I see that I did not express what I really wanted to say so let me clarify.

    Of course you are right, a teacher will (should) always know better than a student on how to prepare for an exam. No dispute there.

    What I wanted to say, but didn't convey, is that the responsibility of actually doing the HW is on the student and that it should not be on the teacher to motivate them in Year 13.

    As far as them googling the answers, I want to make it a little tougher on them so that it cannot be simply copy/paste. I want them to think, at least somewhat, about what they're choosing/inputing as an answer.
    Boardingmaster likes this.
  13. jonathan_white

    jonathan_white New commenter


    Interesting. Food for thought :) I like the idea of the HW contract!!

    No notes as in notes made during lessons? If so, does it mean the teacher isn't writing anything on the board or the student isn't copying/writing anything in his folder?
  14. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    In extreme cases, the student has copied nothing down in lessons, not done the homework set, and so the folder is almost empty. In one case it was January and they student had not even done an assessment!
  15. mikeedanz

    mikeedanz New commenter

    Wow! some astonishing responses here. Can’t see the point of setting homework to Y13? That is lazy. Arguably it’s the most important year of their school career and many will have university places riding on their A-level grades. Surely, it’s incumbent on us to do the best we can to prepare them for their end of year exams? (2020 excepted). I agree that encouraging students to become independent learners is all well and good but you need to show them where to start: for example, choosing appropriate questions from the legacy exam papers as a form of practice is something many appreciate. Careful marking is time consuming and often tedious but how else are you going to correct faulty technique and pick them up on basic stuff like notation and structure? I don’t like marking either - but it’s part of the job. Setting questions out of the textbook and getting them to mark it themselves and then hand it in? Sounds like a pointless exercise in box ticking…
  16. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I learned early on with my Year 12s that they cannot be trusted to mark their own work carefully and accurately. They assume they are right or don't notice details. They do mark their own class work from the textbook but I mark homework. I usually source past exam questions from Examwizard.

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