Homework A or Homework B? Let Students Choose

By Liana Loewus — December 21, 2010 1 min read
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Ed Week research reporter Sarah Sparks has the scoop on a new study finding that students learn more and are more invested when they have a say in what assignments they do.

The study, out of the University of Texas at Austin, found that, “When students were given choices, they reported feeling more interested in their homework, felt more confident about their homework and they scored higher on their unit tests,” according to Erika A. Patall, the lead author.

As a commenter on the blog writes, the findings illustrate the power of “intrinsic motivation.” And that’s not a new concept for teachers.

But Pattal also told Sparks that “one of the other things that became very evident was teachers found this study kind of an imposition.” Teachers are “not inclined to do this sort of thing, because it’s more work for them,” Pattal claimed.

What’s your response to this? Are you “inclined” to offer several options for assignments that cover the same material? How hard is this to do? Do you find that it’s worth the effort?

Isn’t this really differentiated instruction by another name?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.