Dr. Kathie F. Nunley
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.
We all 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 at home.
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.
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.
In the 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.
Dr Kathie Nunley is an educational psychologist, researcher and
author of several books on parenting and teaching, including A Student's
Brain (Brains.org) and the best selling, "Differentiating the High
School Classroom" (Corwin Press). She is the developer of the Layered
Curriculum® method of instruction and has worked with parents and
educators around the world to better structure schools to make brain-friendly
environments. In addition, her work has been used by the Boeing
Corporation, Family Circle Magazine, the Washington Post, and ABC
her: Kathie (at) brains.org