Homework Interventions
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Second Version 2012: Maryellen McClain and Courtney Lemons
First Version 2011: Michelle Jochim and Sarah Sparks 2011 Version

Everyone has had an interaction with homework in one way or another. Whether your remember being a student and being assigned homework or you are a parent and you've had interactions with your child's homework. Homework is assigned for a variety of different reasons. Cooper (1989) defines homework as "tasks assigned by teachers intended for students to carry out during non-school hours"[1]
A teacher might assignment work to be done at home that the student wasn't able to accomplish with in the time limit during the school day. Homework might also be assigned if the teacher feels
that the class needs added practice on a specific skill or topic. In secondary level schools, teachers often assign homework so that students can further their own understanding and take responsibility for their own learning.

In the United States, homework has had a surprisingly long and controversial history, in which teachers have assigned homework and parents (and students) have alternated between embracing and resisting the assigned work.[2] This debate is oftentimes viewed as pitting those who see homework as an unnecessary and unwanted intrusion of the school into family life against those who view homework as a way in which parents can stay more informed about their child's educational program, as well as the school's agenda. [3] Some feel that students spend all day in school and asking them to spend more time doing home when they get home threatens to harm their physical well-being.


However, despite the objections of some parents and students, assigning homework remains a very common practice across schools, which leaves teachers with the responsibility of both assigning it and, oftentimes, finding ways to encourage students to complete it.

What Educators Can Do:


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The three-tiered model of service delivery are used in a wide variety of areas in schools. They can be utilized to help coordinate homework policies and practices for students with varying levels of need [4] . Practice within the three-tiered model allows staff to distribute resources and attention in direct relation to each student's specific needs [5] . In the first tier of the multi-tiered model, intervention occurs at a universal level, and preventative intervention strategies are put in place and delivered to all students[6] . For students who do not respond to Tier 1 interventions, students at Tier 2 are provided with interventions that target the students’ specific area(s) of need [7] . Finally, for the small portion (1-5%) of students who do not respond to either Tier 1 or 2 interventions, Tier 3 interventions provide more individualized and intensive support [8] .

Peg Dawson (2008) [9] identifies several homework practices that can be used in a three-tiered model to help support students. Many of Dawson's strategies are outlined in the three categories below: Universal Homework Practices (Tier 1), Targeted Homework Practices
(Tier 2), and Intensive Homework Practices (Tier 3)

Universal Homework Practices:
  • Establish Clear Homework Guidelines
In order to make homework most beneficial and effective for all students, schools and teachers must recognize the effect of a student's developmental stage [10] . Cooper and Valentine (2001) recommend homework guidelines from the National Parent-Teachers Association and the National Education Association that suggest, for lower elementary grades (K-2), 10-20 minutes of homework should be assigned each day, and for upper elementary grades (3-6), 30-60 minutes of homework should be assigned[11] . As you may notice, the amount of homework that should be assigned increases in the middle grades, as homework becomes increasingly important; at this age level, there is evidence that the amount of homework students engage with and complete relates directly to their grades and standardized test scores[12] . For students with disabilities, teachers should be willing to be more flexible and to make sure that assignments are at an appropriate difficulty level and also brief enough so as not to overwhelm the student (ex; the end should be in sight when these students begin the task)[13] . Creating more formal homework guidelines can set standards for homework and clarify the roles of the teacher, stu
dent, and parent. Homework Guidelines Booklets can be made and distributed to all families and teachers in the school corporation. An excellent example of a Homework Guidelines Booklet is the Bloomfield Public Schools Homework Guidelines, which provides information regarding homework and emphasizes communication between parents and teachers and the need for clearly defined homework assignments[14] .

  • Assign Peer Buddies
Some students may have trouble with completing homework assignments because they forget what was assigned or forget materials necessary to complete the assignment at home. One way to encourage and promote homework completion is to make sure all students are clear about assignments. One way for teachers to make sure that all students know what homework is due and what they need to complete the assignment is to assign Peer Buddies. Teachers pair up students in the classroom and have them check with one another that they have the assignment written down correctly and have all necessary tools.[15]

  • Utilize Technology
Another method that educators can use to encourage homework completion with their students is through the use of technology. The internet computer_dad_boy.jpgcan be a wonderful and fun tool that professionals can utilize. For students that may forget homework assignments (e.g., worksheets) teachers can post links to the assignment on a class webpage so that students can print them off to complete at home.[16] Another option for teachers is to use a classroom webpage to provide information regarding weekly homework assignments or upcoming projects that are due. The internet can be a place for a class webpage organized and monitored by the teacher that can provide a place for collaboration between students on assignments, assignment information, and deadlines for assignments and projects. Teachers, check out this quick video on google docs to help you construct an interactive and informative classroom webpage.



  • Schools, Parents, and Teachers Should Establish Clear Communication Channels
Schools and teachers must communicate with parents about the value of homework. Parent-teacher conferences, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) presentations, and school newsletters can all be used as tools for communicating with parents regar
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ding homework policies and guidelines. Giving parents tips and possibly even training on how to help their children with homework can give parents a better understanding of the role they should play when helping their child with his or her homework (Dawson, 2008). It is also important to note that, as students move into the middle and high school grades (and homework becomes increasingly important), it may become increasingly difficult for many parents to assist their children with homework. With this in mind, it is critical that educators provide more resources to parents and students and place an increased emphasis on the importance of homework completion in the middle grades. Assigning homework that specifically prompts parent involvement may help address these issues and be beneficial to student academic outcomes[17] .
  • Explain Homework Assignments Clearly; Arrange for Homework Hotlines and/or Website Postings of Assignments
One reason identified by Intervention Central as to why students may not turn in their homework is that the studenhomework6.pngt may not write down homework assignments completely or correctly. Intervention Central identifies several ways in which to help students overcome this problem, such as typing up all class assignments for the week or month and passing them out to students [18] . Another way that is discussed both by Dawson (2008) and Intervention Central is to set up a "homework hotline", which students and parents can call with a per-recorded message that lists current class assignments. Teachers may also choose to create and update a web page that contains a listing of pending assignments with their due dates [19] .
  • Establish Clear Homework Routines At School and Home
Another common reason identified by Intervention Central as to why homework may not be completed is that the student does not have a regular routine (location, set time, etc) for studying and working on homework. Strategies for overcoming this problem include having the student complete a homework schedule each week (with adequate time for homework set aside), identifying a time and place at home where the student can complete homework with minimal distractions, and encouraging the student to use study halls and other in-school time to get a jump start on homework [20] .
  • Be Thoughtful and Creative in Designing Homework; Build Choice Into Homework Assignments Whenever Possible; Make Homework a Collaborative Effort
Teachers who make an effort to create engaging homework assignments that co
nnect to real-world activities are more likely to have students who are willing to put in the time to complete the assignments (Dawson, 2008). One way that teachers are designing creative and collaborative homework assignments is through programs, such as Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork (TIPS), that encourage and stress the involvement of families, friends, peers, and community members in the completion of homework assignments (Dawson). In addition, building choice into homework assignments can serve to enhance students' feeling of control over their learning. A strategy used by some teachers to create choices is to design a menu of assignments with different point values assigned to each; students are then instructed to complete assignments that total a specific point value each week (Dawson).
  • (Parents) Check In With Your Child Everyday About Homework
Having parents ask their children about homework and plans for doing it lets children know that it is an important and valued activity. Each day that students come home from school, parents should ask, "What do you have to do, and when are you going to do it?" (Dawson, 2008). All parents can help their children with homework, simply by stressing the importance of homework to their children and checking in to make sure the work gets done. For more homework tips for parents, check out the U.S.Department of Education's publication: Homework Tips for Parents.

  • (Parents) Help Teach Your Child Methods to Completing Homework
One way that parents can help out their children complete homework is through building a plan. Parents can help students learn how to determine which assignments they need to completed, order assignments by importance (e.g., most difficult first), estimate how long assignments will take, and how to break up longer assignments. Check out Intervention Central for more specific instructions!



Targeted Homework Practices:
  • Establish After-school Homework Clubs; Organize Peer Tutoring Programs
Completing homework in the evening can be challenging and chaotic for a number of reasons for many students and their families, and parents may be unavailable or unable to help their children complete their homework. By establishing after-school programs (clubs) or homework centers, schools may be able to alleviate these problems and provide students with the support and assistance needed to finish assignments (Dawson, 2008). In addition, peer-tutoring programs can serve as an adjunct or alternative to after-school homework programs and potentially provide students with
more palatable assistance than from teachers. To create well-designed peer-tutoring programs, training

should be provided, and the program must be well-supervised and administered (Dawson).
  • (Teachers) Have A Set Procedure for Offering Students Assistance With Homework
Especially for students who may be struggling (or beginning to struggle), encouraging students to ask for help and letting them know how they can get help is extremely important. Some teachers stay after-school or come to school early on particular days, to make themselves available to provide assistance to students (Dawson, 2008). It is important that students who are in nee

d of these opportunities are aware of them. In addition, making students aware of additional beneficial resources, where they can receive help with homework from sources beside their teacher or parents, may enhance the student's confidence during homework time, as well as their feelings of support. Examples of these resources could be after-school programs, helpful websites, or even homework help hotlines, such as the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Homework Hotline,which is a hotline run by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to assist Indiana students with math and science homework problems. thinkingcapwhoa_color.gif
  • Provide/Request Weekly Progress Reports for Students Who Need Them; If Homework Completion Is A Recurring Problem, Arrange Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences to Discuss Concerns
Without accurate and current information about homework, parents of

students who often fail to complete or hand in homework cannot hold their children accountable. By providing parents with weekly progress reports from teachers that inform them of any missing assignments, parents can effectively supervise their children and ensure that the work is getting done (Dawson, 2008). This may be especially beneficial for students who show frequent problems with handing in assignments. Further
more, setting up parent-teacher-student conferences to discuss concerns regarding the completion of homework could help pinpoint problems at school or home and set up effective, collaborative strategies to get homework done.
  • Use Incentives, If Necessary
For those students who are not motivated by grades, rewards may be used by parents or teachers; these incentives may be simple or elaborate, depending on the student. Simple incentives include giving the student something to loo
k forward to when work is finished, building in breaks along the way, or building in a choice, such as the order in which to complete assignments (Dawson, 2008). Elaborate reward systems generally involve more planning and are used with students with more significant homework problems (Dawson). Homework Contracts can be utilized by parents (or teachers) and students to identify the homework problem, set a goal, decide on the possible rewards or penalties, and then identify what parents (or teachers) and students will do to carry out each of their parts in the agreement. The Mystery Motivator Intervention is another effective intervention that is oftentimes used by teachers to encourage students to thoroughly complete homework. By providing a mystery motivator on unknown days, the student is motivated to perform the desired behavior each day, in case the motivator should appear on that day. The Mystery Motivator Evidence-Based Intervention Brief provides the research base for this intervention and demonstrates how the intervention has been used effectively in the past.

Intensive Homework Practices:
  • Work Collaboratively to Develop Homework Support Plans
An individual Homework Support Plan is likely to become necessary if a student's failure to finish or hand in homework is pronounced enough to cause the student to fail classes and when Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions have been inadequate at solving the problem. A Homework Support Plan defines the problem(s) and outlines a set of strategies or practices that schools, teachers, and parents will utilize in order to alleviate the problem(s) (Dawson, 2008). The goal of a support plan is to help the student reach a point where he or she can function independently and successfully without the need for a plan (Dawson).

Implementing a School-Wide Homework Plan
Even though the controversy over homework continues, the need for homework to promote school success is apparent, especially in the intermediate grades through high school[21] . As discussed above, there are many concepts that should be considered when developing and implementing a homework plan. Included below is an example from Natalie Rathvon's book, Effective School Interventions, of a homework intervention plan that includes many of these concepts and can be implemented school-wide at the Tier 1 level to increase homework accuracy and completion [22] . This homework plan requires students to use self-management skills, while also including parents and seeking out other resources when needed. However, this is only an outline, and it would be necessary to mold this intervention to the specific school or district, while keeping all of the previously mentioned strategies in mind. Project Best: Seven Steps to Successful Homework Completion [23]
  1. Prepare monthly planners and weekly study schedules.
  2. Record assignments and ask questions.
  3. homework_red_1.pngOrganize assignments.
    • Break the assignment down into parts
    • Estimate the number of study sessions
    • Schedule the sessions
    • Take materials home
  4. Jump to it.
  5. Engage in the work and include parents, study partners, or other resources.
  6. Check your work.
  7. Turn in your work.
==What Parents Can Do[24] :
  • Study the same things in different ways and places
    • Spend time studying or discussung new information in a variety of places through out the week. For example, if you child brings home a spelling list on Monday that they will be tested over on Friday place a copy in your car and quiz them while you run errands. Or have your student practice them with shaving cream during play time.
  • Mix up the study time
    • Spend some time doing math and then move on the reading. Mixing up the subjects help the child to not get frustrated or burnt out by one particular task.
  • Space out the learning
    • If a homework packet isn't due until Friday, space out the amount of time spend on homework through out the week. On Monday spend 15 minutes, on Tuesday spend 30 minutes and so on. By spreading out the amount of time spent, your not making your child sit down in on day and complete everything.
  • Help your child get organized
    • Make your child a special homework folder or notebook were they can keep all their materails together. Also, put other supplies like pens, pencils, paper and dictionaries in a location that is easy for your child to access.
  • Show your child that you think homework is important
    • Ask your child about their homework. Check to see if it is completed. Tell your child that you are proud and provide praise.
  • Help your child without doing the homework
    • Helping your child answer questions they might have is important in ensuring that they don't become frustrated and refuse to do the home
      work. But don't do the homework for them. It's important that they learn to do the skill and figure out problems on their own.
  • Talk withBACKPACK.jpgyour child's teacher
    • If your child seems to be struggling with one concept repeatedly, talk to the teacher and see if they are struggling at school too.
Conclusion
There is definite controversy in the United Stated over whether schools should require additional work be completed at home. This has been a longstanding battle between schools and many parents, with some individuals supporting the viewpoint that students should not have to spend
time doing academic work outside of the hours they already spend in school. However, increased homework engagement has been found to lead to higher academic achievement[25] . Therefore, as educators, it is important to emphasize the need for homework and how it can enhance skills being learned in the classroom. Furthermore, it is essential to utilize strategies that we know to be "best practices" throughout the homework process, to ensure that all students can get the most benefit from the assignment and successful completion of homework.
  1. ^ Patall, E. A., Cooper, H., & Robinson, J. C. (2008). Parent Involvement in Homework: A Research Synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 78, 4, 1039-1101.
  2. ^ Dawson, P. (2008). Best Practices in Managing Homework. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology V: Volume 4, (pp. 1073-1084). Bethesda, Maryland: The National Association of School Psychologists.
  3. ^ Dawson, P. (2008). Best Practices in Managing Homework. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology V: Volume 4, (pp. 1073-1084). Bethesda, Maryland: The National Association of School Psychologists.
  4. ^





















    Dawson, P. (2008). Best Practices in Managing Homework. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology V: Volume 4, (pp. 1073-1084). Bethesda, Maryland: The National Association of School Psychologists.
  5. ^ Tilly, D. W., Niebling, B. C., & Rahn-Blakeslee, A. Making Problem-Solving School Psychology Work in Schools. In Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Daly, E. D., & Merrell, K. W. (Eds). (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st Century, (pp. 579-596). The Guilford Press: New York.
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    Ervin, R. A., Peacock, G. G., & Merrell, K. W. The School Psychologist as a Problem Solver in the 21st Century. In Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Daly, E. D., & Merrell, K. W. (Eds). (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st Century, (pp. 3-12). The Guilford Press: New York.
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    Ervin, R. A., Peacock, G. G., & Merrell, K. W. The School Psychologist as a Problem Solver in the 21st Century. In Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Daly, E. D., & Merrell, K. W. (Eds). (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st Century, (pp. 3-12). The Guilford Press: New York.
  8. ^ Ervin, R. A., Peacock, G. G., & Merrell, K. W. The School Psychologist as a Problem Solver in the 21st Century. In Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Daly, E. D., & Merrell, K. W. (Eds). (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st Century, (pp. 3-12). The Guilford Press: New York.
  9. ^





















    Dawson, P. (2008). Best Practices in Managing Homework. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology V: Volume 4, (pp. 1073-1084). Bethesda, Maryland: The National Association of School Psychologists.
  10. ^





















    Cooper, H., & Valentine, J. C. (2001). Using Research to Answer Practical Questions About Homework. Educational Psychologist, 36, 3, 143-153.
  11. ^





















    Cooper, H., & Valentine, J. C. (2001). Using Research to Answer Practical Questions About Homework. Educational Psychologist, 36, 3, 143-153.
  12. ^





















    Balli, S., Demo, D., & Wedman J. (1998). Family involvement with children’s homework: an intervention in the middle grades. Family Relations, 47, 2, 149-157.
  13. ^





















    Dawson, P. (2008). Best Practices in Managing Homework. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes (Eds.), Best Practices in School Psychology V: Volume 4, (pp. 1073-1084). Bethesda, Maryland: The National Association of School Psychologists.
  14. ^



















    The Department of Curriculum and Instruction (2003). Homework Guidelines Booklet. Bloomfield, New Jersey: Bloomfield Public Schools.
  15. ^










    Intervention Central (n.d.) Classwork and Homework From Start to Finish. Retrieved from
    http://www.interventioncentral.org/academic-interventions/study-organization/classwork-homework-troubleshooting-student-problems-start-
  16. ^








    Intervention Central (n.d.) Classwork and Homework From Start to Finish. Retrieved from
    http://www.interventioncentral.org/academic-interventions/study-organization/classwork-homework-troubleshooting-student-problems-start-.
  17. ^





    Balli, S., Demo, D., & Wedman J. (1998). Family involvement with children’s homework: an intervention in the middle grades. Family Relations, 47, 2, 149-157.
  18. ^





















    Intervention Central (n.d). Classwork and Homework: Troubleshooting Student Problems From Start to Finish. Retrieved from http://www.interventioncentral.org/index.php/study-org/121-classwork-a-homework-troubleshooting-student-problems-from-start-to-finish
  19. ^ Intervention Central (n.d). Classwork and Homework: Troubleshooting Student Problems From Start to Finish. Retrieved from http://www.interventioncentral.org/index.php/study-org/121-classwork-a-homework-troubleshooting-student-problems-from-start-to-finish
  20. ^





















    Intervention Central (n.d). Classwork and Homework: Troubleshooting Student Problems From Start to Finish. Retrieved from http://www.interventioncentral.org/index.php/study-org/121-classwork-a-homework-troubleshooting-student-problems-from-start-to-finish
  21. ^





















    Cooper, H., Lindsay, J., Nye, B., & Greathouse, S. (1998). Relationships among attitudes about homework, amount of homework assigned and completed, and student achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 1, 70-83.
  22. ^



















    Rathvon, N. (2008). Effective School Interventions: Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes, 2nd Ed, (pp. 165-175). The Guilford Press: New York.
  23. ^


















    Rathvon, N. (2008). Effective School Interventions: Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes, 2nd Ed, (pp. 165-175). The Guilford Press: New York.
  24. ^














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    Reading Rockets (n.d). Homework Tips for Parents. Retrieved from
    http://www.readingrockets.org/article/39300/
  25. ^





















    Keith, T. (1982). Time spent on homework in high school grades: a large-sample path analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, 2, 248-253.