1. Will On-line HomeworkTHE INTERNET AND ITS EFFECT ON HOMEWORK COMPLETION RATES Will On-line Homework Improve Completion Rates and By Extension, Improve Test Scores? By Lauren Nourse Title Touro University In Partial fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of MASTERS OF ARTS In Educational Technology by Lauren Nourse April 2010
2. Will On-line Homework 2 AbstractThere is an ever increasing complaint from high school teachers that the students we aresending from the junior high are not prepared for the rigors of their classes. Given thepremise that homework is a necessity when learning to work independently and indeveloping self-discipline and responsibility the teachers at Martinez Junior High Schoolhave instituted a homework lunch for students who do not complete math and sciencehomework when due. The purpose is to provide a location for homework completion withteacher assistance. In spite of this intervention, the rates of completion of homework havestayed static. Can we create more opportunities for homework to be done on line and willthis increase homework completion rates?
3. Will On-line Homework 3 Will On-line Homework Improve Completion Rates and By Extension, Improve Test Scores? Reading other projects for this class one realizes that the problems we are facingas teachers are common throughout the academic disciplines. Our reason for investigatingthe use of educational technology is to allow teachers to better connect with our studentswho have grown up as technology natives (Hatzigeorgiou, 2009). Students seem to befeeling more and more disconnected from school with each passing year. They questionthe relevance of the subject being taught and don’t understand how this variety of topicscan form a major foundation for their future education and, more importantly, for theirlater success in the work place. (Prensky, 2008b) In our efforts to find ways to helpstudents want to engage, we must investigate how we as teachers can use these newtechnologies that students use daily (or even hourly). The debate continues to rage on as to the effectiveness of homework: does ittranslate into higher test scores? How do I cover the language of science and insurestudents have the background needed to understand our curriculum without asking forsome effort on their part outside of the classroom day? Overwhelming evidence exists that homework improves student achievement(Cooper, Robinson, and Patall 2006). With that evidence in mind, how can we insurethat: a) homework gets done; b) that homework is deemed to be meaningful to bothstudents and teachers and; c) the new methods to deliver homework will stimulate itscompletion?Statement of the problem Research has shown improved student learning when meaningful homeworkassignments are completed and returned to students with constructive comments
4. Will On-line Homework 4(Mendicino, Razzaq & Heffernan, 2009). In addition, students benefit from completinghomework and learning to work independently. Homework also helps to develop self-discipline and responsibility. Given this information I wanted to find research thatsupported my belief that homework is an essential part of student learning and, moreimportantly, important for student retention of information. There is an ever growing struggle between schools and parents over the necessity,amount, and usefulness of homework. There are studies for (Cooper, Civey. Robinson, &Patall, 2006) and against (Kravlovec & Buell, 2000) homework, but the majority ofstudies conclude that homework does improve academic achievement. In spite of thesestudies, the perception persists and in fact is growing among teachers and administratorsthat homework is no longer an essential piece of the educational puzzle (Kralovec & Bell,2003). In an attempt to increase homework completion rates in our eighth grade scienceclasses we have been keeping an accurate tally of students who do not turn inassignments on time. They are then given a lunchtime detention with the principal and anopportunity to complete the work. The assumption has been that this intervention wouldimprove the turn in rates. In the four months of this program there has been little or noimprovement in percentage of homework turn in. 40-50% of students routinely do notturn in their assignments on time. In an effort to improve this turn in rate I haveinvestigated studies that offer options to the traditional pen-and-paper homework cycle. The Mendicino fifth grade study concluded that there was a significantimprovement in learning for students who completed the homework using the Web-basedmodel. In a college level study, results were negligible. That study concluded that web-
5. Will On-line Homework 5based homework is a good alternate but not necessarily a replacement for traditionalgeneral homework (Liang, 2002). Even though the college level physics results did not show any significantdifference in learning outcomes, the study did report a higher level of homeworkcompletion for those who completed the web-based homework. They also reported thatstudents found the web-based homework more “interesting” even though they spent moretime completing it.Background and Need There is a need to find a new tech savvy way to allow students to participate inhomework. In our continuing efforts to engage students in the academic process itappears we must learn from them and employ some new web based methods forcompleting homework. Obviously a student technology assessment would need to becompleted. We are making assumptions that ALL students have access to and routinelyuse the internet and other technology. This survey would help find out what technologyliteracy exists among my students. What is the student’s access to computers, their accessto the internet, and the ability of their computer to handle the graphic and videocomponents anticipated in the homework events? Following the lead of several otherteachers doing research on this topic I would suggest a need to an assessment of theconditions under which students do their homework. Items needing to be assessed wouldinclude: a) when and where homework is done; b) lighting conditions; c) study space orsurface; and d) music, television, or other noise level factors. From that point, testingparameters would be established and a research time period set.Purpose
6. Will On-line Homework 6 The purpose of the project is to take existing homework assignments and comparethe rates of homework completion between students using the traditional pen-and-paperstyle versus homework completed on-line and returned to the teacher via the web. Willthere be an increase in homework completion rates as indicated by several prior studies?(Bonham, Beichner, & Deardorff. (2001), Salend, Duhaney, Anderson, Gottschalk,(2004), Cooper, Robinson, Patall, (2006) or has the novelty of the web as an educationalhomework resource begun to fade?Project Objectives Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? With this project I hope todetermine what type of homework is necessary to encourage students to do theirhomework. I anticipate giving pre- and post- tests for the unit covered under the study.During the course of the project I hope to determine what homework teachers at MJHSdeem worthwhile. The project will call for implementation of the use of online homework assignmentsfor at least one project at MJHS. In addition, it will be necessary to find routine weeklyhomework assignments that can be done online. Hopefully this project will open dialogueand debate at MJHS as to the effectiveness and worth of homework in our specificcommunity.Definition of TermsBlog or Web Log – A blog (short for "web log") is essentially an online journal or diarywhere one can post messages, photos, music and video on their own.(http://absolute-digital.co.uk/glossary.php)Blogger – A contributor to a blog or online journal.
7. Will On-line Homework 7(http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/blogger)Digital Literacy – The ability to use digital technology, communication tools ornetworks to locate, evaluate, use and create information.(http://www.digitalstrategy.govt.nz/Resources/Glossary-of-Key-Terms/)Digital Native – A digital native is a person who has grown up with digital technologysuch as computers, the Internet, mobile phones and MP3 players.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_native)Digital Immigrant – A person who was not born into the digital world but has adoptedmany or most aspects of the new technology. (Prensky, 2001)Web 2.0 – The term given to describe a second generation of the World Wide Web that isfocused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online.(http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Web_2_point_0.html)Summary The hypothesis is that web-based homework, particularly well-designedhomework with a web component, can provide an alternative to traditional types ofhomework. Can we create more opportunities for homework to be done on line and willthis increase completion of homework assignments and by extension improve student testscores? Will on-line homework improve understanding of the material and thus createimproved test scores? Lastly, will this be just a novelty to students who will be interestedin completing this new style initially but quickly tire and return to old habits? ReferencesBonham, S, Beichner, R, & Deardorff, D. (2001). Online homework: does it make a
8. Will On-line Homework 8 difference/. The Physics Teacher, 39, 293-296Cooper, H, Robinson, J.C., & Patall, E.A. (2006). Does Homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis or research, 1987-2003. Review of educational research, 76(1), 1-62Kralovec, E. & Buell, J. (2000). The end of homework: How homework disrupts families, overburdens children, and limits learning. Boston: Beacon PressSchuster, N. (2009, November 5). The Impact of homework and homework preferences in ninth grade geographyKralovec, E and Buell, J. (2001). End Homework Now. Educational Leadership. Vol. 58 (7) p39-42Liang, J. (2002, May 11). Study of the effectiveness of a web-based interactive homework. Retrieved from www.msstate.edu/dept/physics/research/ms-thesis-jie-liang.pdfRazzaq, L, Heffernan, N.T., & Mendicino, M. (2009). A Comparison of traditional homework to computer-supported homework. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(3), 331-358Prensky, M. (2008b, November-December). The role of technology in teaching and the classroom. Educational Technology. Retrieved December 8, 2008, from http://marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky-The_Role_of_Technology-ET-11-12-08.pdf