students accountable for day-to-day learning and watch end
of the year test scores increase. Unfortunately traditional
teaching has not encouraged students to see the connection
between daily classwork and learning. That's because there
is no systematic accountability for that work. Students are
accustomed to "doing" an assignment and getting credit for
the "doing" rather than the learning.
know that having an assignment such as a worksheet filled
out does not necessarily indicate students have learned anything.
Sometimes it just means they sit with the right people at
lunch, or can fill out paperwork while watching television
can get enough daily work "done" to offset low test scores,
it is possible (sadly) to pass a course while learning very
little if anything about the subject matter. Theoretically
you could go through twelve years of this and come out with
a diploma and little else.
students accountable. Give credit for actual learning, rather
than for doing. Daily quizzes, either oral or written, are
easily administered. Choose one question at random
from the assignment and give a grade based on that assessment.
Choose two of their ten vocabulary words and award points
on the two words. Write sample math problems on
index cards, have the students draw a card, complete the problem
and award homework points based on that sample of work.
beginning, students may be shocked, even angry at the change
in strategy. But stick to your policy, explain the reason,
and eventually your students will actually come to
appreciate the fact that you care enough about them to value
the time they've spent on learning.