This AP story details an innovative, and effective, program to get students to finish their homework. At Glenpool Middle School, teachers don’t give out zeros for incomplete homework assignments. Instead, they send the students to a lunch study hall, where they are expected to complete the originally assigned work. If the work still isn’t completed by the end of the lunch period, their parents are contacted to make arrangements for the student to finish the assignment before or after school hours.
I think this is a really good idea for a number of reasons. First of all, zeros pull down a student’s average in a frighteningly quick and devastating way. Even if the student had all A’s on every other assignment, one zero could conceivably bring his or her overall grade down to a C, or worse. Second of all, if students don’t do their homework assignments and take a zero instead, they still have not learned whatever the assignment was designed to teach. This program tackles both of those problems by making it very difficult for students to receive zeros on homework assignments and making them do the work whether or not it’s completed on time. Also, I imagine that losing out on lunch is extra motivation for students to finish their homework at home.
What do you think? Is forcing kids to finish incomplete homework assignments during lunch a good idea, or does it eliminate the consequences of not getting it done, and let them off too easy?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.