Homework? Done. Really? You decide.

Feb 11, 2023 | McKenzie Towne

Remember when a student was assigned math homework and their solutions required to be handed in at the start of the next class, fully expecting that the teacher would be marking the work and returning it if corrections were needed?

Well, that may not always be happening in every classroom today.

Students are usually assigned math problems to work on and many get them “done” while still in class. What does that mean?

In many cases, the problems are supplied with an “answer key”, often found at the back of the book or document. A student works through the problem and comes up with a solution, then checks their answer against the one published in the answer key. After that, they move on to the next problem.

Sounds good. However, did the student’s answer match that found in the answer key? What happens when it doesn’t?

Some students rationalize a mismatch: I think I know how they got that or perhaps I must have done it differently. Maybe I’ll get luckier on the next problem. If they’re pressed for time, that’s as far as they go.

The intention is for students to find their own mistake, fix it, and continue forward again until they arrive at the correct answer. In a classroom setting, students might ask their teacher to help them figure out where a mistake was made – if they want to get it right. You see, when work isn’t going to get marked, some students rationalize that it’s optional: right or wrong, I got an answer to every problem and now I can leave.

Getting an answer is not the same as understanding the correct solution.

At Mathnasium, we check every solution a student writes down on a page of our curriculum to see if it is right. Incorrect answers are discussed with the student, to help them find the mistake, providing an opportunity for them to understand where they went wrong. We even help students understand why their homework solutions don’t match the answer key. This is when learning takes place: skill gaps are resolved and proficiency begins to soar.

Book a free session to give your student first-hand experience of learning with us.

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