Not many issues spark the interest of parents (and indeed students) more than the subject of homework and how much or little there is of it!
At St. Crispin’s we have refreshed our approach to homework based on the most recent educational research. Research shows that work completed outside of lessons can improve student progress by five months but to do so that work has to be purposeful, closely related to the learning in class, and provide a variety of tasks with different levels of challenge. This recommendation comes from a range of research either commissioned or reviewed by the Educational Endowment Foundation, an independent charity set up to provide evidence of what works to improve teaching and learning by funding rigorous trials of promising approaches.
Based on the latest evidence, we changed our approach to homework with an emphasis on setting work outside of lessons with a clear purpose and that either extends, consolidates or assesses learning in class, or feeds into the learning of the next lesson. As part of this refresh, these tasks and activities are called Personal Study rather than homework to emphasise to students their individual responsibility and the benefit to their learning. Students should expect a variety of tasks some of which will be formally marked, and some of which will feed into their next steps of learning. Personal Study, although set regularly, will be given at the appropriate time in a lesson sequence to maximise relevance and purpose rather than routinely. (The evidence suggests that the setting of homework routinely per se does not bring the same progress as quality homework closely tied to a particular element of learning).
For Personal Study to have the greatest benefit it should be purposeful, relevant and accessible. Teachers will give students clear guidelines on how long they should spend on a personal task and they will have at least 48 hours between setting of the task and the due date to avoid feeling overburdened.
Examples of purposeful Personal Study
|EXTENDS||CONSOLIDATES||FEEDS INTO NEXT LESSON|
|Research to extend understanding||Exam questions||Preparatory reading|
|Problem solving||Writing own questions and developing revision activities||Self-assessment of work before redrafting or rewriting|
|Application of a skill to a new or unfamiliar situation||Responding to even better targets||Students set own tasks based on progress through individual projects|
The amount of Personal Study tasks set will vary according to how often a subject is timetabled, but on average, will be about every 3 to 4 lessons.
Teachers will respond to the task as appropriate but it could be verbal, written or through using the Personal Study task in an activity in the following lesson.