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Helping Your Students With Homework: A Guide for Teachers - February 1998

Tips for Getting Homework Done

14. Provide constructive feedback

Students are more apt to complete assignments and advance their learning when they get consistent and constructive feedback. Students need to know where they excelled and where they need more work on an assignment. This conveys the vital message that homework helps students learn and is important.

Teachers can evaluate and review homework in a variety of ways. Many teachers give letter grades, others assign numbers, and many provide written comments. Grading homework motivates many students to do their best work and to learn more, but in some situations grades may not be beneficial. For example, written comments may be more constructive for a second-grade student whose homework assignment required her to write a poem.

Feedback is the most helpful when teachers provide specific suggestions on how the homework can be improved and discuss problems and remedies with individual students or the whole class. Math teachers may review a completed problem and point out any step in which an error has been made.

Peer feedback can also be helpful. In addition to providing students with another perspective of their work, peer feedback can help students learn cooperative social skills and teach students how to evaluate their own and other's efforts.

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