Thursday, December 08, 2011

National Novel Writing Month and Homework

Hi guys,
I feel like I haven't posted anything in quite a while and wanted to quickly update on two things which I hope sort of explain my long silence:
1. I have slain the beast that is finishing NaNoWriMo! For those of you who aren't familiar with it, National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write 50,000 words (in a novel) in the month of November. I started work on my novel, Truth and Beauty, five days into the challenge and managed to finish a couple days early (out of necessity, since I was leaving on a trip to Colorado and California for two speeches). Oh yes--the speeches should also help explain the silence on here :) I will post more about my travels once I have finished the second thing, which is
2. Catching up on homework. I have a feeling I will have stuff left over to do on Winter Break. Mostly AP Art History stuff...writing 12 art criticisms in one night is no mean feat (although definitely not specific just to me--pretty much everyone else does exactly the same thing)...plus a biology test tomorrow, AP US History, AP Lit. and Comp., Geometry, and French. Yeah, I will definitely be doing work over Winter Break too.
I'd love to hear your opinion on homework and testing. I had the thought as I started studying for my tests coming up that tests don't necessarily test authentic learning--more realistically, they test how much studying you did the night before. However, if we don't use bubble-ins, how do we get results for data and research purposes? Better assessment was quite a hot topic at both of the two education conferences where I was presenting this week.

5 comments:

Zac the Slade said...

Coming strictly from my experience as an Engineering student, I think that the best assessment of our learning is project-performance. To an engineer, having formulas memorized is just as important as knowing where to find applicable formulas, but not as important as knowing how to use them practically (as opposed to theoretically). By splitting students into groups with multiple engineering concentrations represented and assigning work appropriate to each group's concentrations, I think my teachers are able to accurately assess our learning. Testing, however, only gives a professor insight into formula memorization and theoretical application.

lol -- I suppose that response isn't quite in the context you're looking for. Maybe it can be applied for your purposes as well?

Jackie said...

Hi Adora
Glad to hear your writing voice again, if only a snippet.

When I was a classroom teacher (elem school), I had read research that said homework does more harm than good (at least for pre-AP level studies). Homework is probably less of an issue if it is not turned in for a grade. Grading is what I have issues with. I find grading to be arbitrary and subjective, and at times demeaning.

Homework, I believe, is important as long as the individual values the studies he/she is doing, or has goals that require certain work to be done. Think about an adult who wants to learn something. They may sign up for a course, or they may pick up some books or do some internet searches, and assign themselves reading or practice toward a new skill or understanding. (Or they write a blog...)

I am an advocate of self-assessment. When self-assessment is built in to a learning program, it can be quite effective in pinpointing 'real' gaps in learning. A student who is good at performance tests (like I was) can fake it pretty well, keeping things in short term memory for only as long as necessary then completely forgetting it, or worse having no real-life application for the info.

I personally have very little interest in statistics or performance data. To me, it's more important to find out if the person is excited about learning and has access to learning what he/she is interested in.

Thanks for the discussion.

Maddy said...

Hey Adora!
Nice to see a new post from you : )

I am a student from an unconventional high school where we have no grades and barely any tests. My school is based off of self directed learning and has gotten 90% of its' students to college. that just goes to show that tests arn't everything. I just switched to this school this year and have loved the lack of homework and finals. I had two tests before winter break and thats all! I have personally grown to kind of enjoy tests but without them, I see there is not much of a point in having them.

I feel standardized tests are important for making sure students are learning, but stressful finals are silly. You spend a week of long nights studying information that will be most likely released from your brain as soon as the test is over. Then again it is important to re-cap all of the information. In my school we write essays about what we have learned and how the class has effected us. I feel these essays are a lot more personal and successful than tests.

Thats my oppinion :P

David said...

Hey,

What are your studying techniques that you use when studying. Although different subjects requires different study habits, what are your studying habits in each area?

Anonymous said...

Hi Adora
I watched TED video about you. You spoke so interestingly!
Have a great time by writing books!


>This comment would be grammatically wrong.