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Rethinking Homework

  • Title:Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, 2nd Edition
  • Author:Cathy Vatterott
  • Publication Date:September 2018
  • ISBN:9781416626565
  • Publisher:ASCD

Is homework an essential component of rigorous schooling or a harmful practice that alienates and discourages a significant number of students? Nine years after Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs was published, the debate over this complex question endures.

In this updated edition, Cathy Vatterott examines the role homework has played in the culture of schooling over the years; how such factors as family life, the media, and "homework gap" issues based on shifting demographics have affected the homework controversy; and what recent research as well as common sense tell us about the effects of homework on student learning. She also explores how the current homework debate has been reshaped by forces including the Common Core, a pervasive media and technology presence, the mass hysteria of "achievement culture," and the increasing shift to standards-based and formative assessment.

The best way to address the homework controversy is not to eliminate homework. Instead, the author urges educators to replace the old paradigm (characterized by long-standing cultural beliefs, moralistic views, and behaviorist philosophy) with a new paradigm based on the following elements:

  • Designing high-quality homework tasks;
  • Differentiating homework tasks;
  • Deemphasizing grading of homework;
  • Improving homework completion; and
  • Implementing homework support programs.

Numerous examples from teachers and schools illustrate the new paradigm in action, and readers will find useful new tools to start them on their own journey. The end product is homework that works--for all students, at all levels.

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