students copying homework

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Ron6103, May 4, 2009.

  1. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    May 4, 2009

    While I realize it's late in the year, I'm starting to think about next year, and wanted some insight. I've struggled all year with students copying homework assignments off each other. It's gotten to the point that 6 kids out of a class of 18 copied the same assignment last week.

    Our school has a fairly lax policy on this. We're to give zero's on the assignments, but that's all. So many kids seem to do this over and over, hoping that every once in awhile I won't catch it if the answers are decent (which is true). So my question becomes... what is the best way to handle this next year?

    One suggestion from a co-worker was to simply eliminate homework (aside from major projects) so all work had to be done quietly, and in class. But I really don't want to do that because my homework is designed to prepare students for the next day's discussion. I simply assign reading (often primary source, occasionally textbook) and give them a set of comprehension questions to ensure they read it. That's all the assignments ever are.

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 4, 2009

    So, if the kids have copied the questions, then, in a round about sort of way, they've met your goal. They had to have processed the information somehow as they wrote the answers, and therefore would have some basis in which to participate in the discussion. I realize that's not ideal, but it's a start.

    I teach math, so my homework goals are very different, so feel free to take anything I have to say with a grain of salt. What I might do in your shoes is to assign different parts of the text to different students. So, say you're studying the trasistion of power in Englad after Henry VIII's death. One group of kids would be responsible for Edward, another figures out what role Jane Grey played, then another figure's out Mary's role, and yet another learns about Elizabeth I. Of course, that analogy would only work in a really broad discussion, but you get my idea. Heck, if they're already "collaborating" against your will, just change your outlook so that's what they're supposed to do :D.
     
  4. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    May 4, 2009

    Instead of a homework grade, have homework quizzes. Since it's a reading assingment, they should be able to answer basic questions about the reading if they've done their homework.
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    May 4, 2009

    What types of questions are you asking about the primary sources? Maybe you need to move from comprehensive question to analytical questions; "Why would Thomas Moore deny and defy his king?", "what is the tone of this source?", "why is this source credible?" The more you require you students to write, the harder it is to copy. In other words, make your students analyze the primary source documents and it will be easier to catch them copying, easier to document and follow through with the zeros. Make the assignment worth a test grade every now and then and I bet it will only take once to get your point across. Also, even though your admin has a very lax copying policy doesn't mean you have to, give them the zero, have them do the assignment again and call home.

    You didn't mention how long you have been teaching. One thing that I think is really important with this issue is teacher reputation. My rep "She really reads everything", "She will give a zero and call your mom" and "It really makes her angry if you copy.", "She will write you up." It took me about one semester to build up this rep, but now it is golden.
     
  6. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    May 4, 2009

    I agree with INTeacher.
    If you must stick with comp questions ... consider giving them as bellwork. Students answer them as they walk in the door. Monitor (even if from the hallway) that students are working independently.
     
  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    May 4, 2009

    At a Madeline Hunter seminar I attended some years back her theme was "Teachers are wasting their time correcting homework." According to Hunter a teacher never knows for sure who has actually done the homework - parents, siblings, friends etc. Hunter went on to note if a teacher is interested in learning (that is a pretty good reason) and not merely "doing" then a quiz ON the homework will show who has learned and who has merely done (like copying). She suggested giving a short quiz very similar to the homework (not trying to fool anyone) and correcting it. Muttling suggested bell work. A few questions prepared in advance and put on board (or overhead) when students enter room might be a plan.
     
  8. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    May 5, 2009

    I stick to opinion questions for this very reason. I also give homework questions on a computer program that makes it impossible to copy.

    I agree with previous posters that just because your school is lax on copying doesn't mean you have to be. Set your own rules and follow through.
     
  9. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    May 7, 2009

    Homework assignments in my class are generally to write bits and pieces of an essay or to answer comp. questions about the story... very few worksheets go home.

    But in my syllabus, I have it clearly stated that copying is a form of plagiarism and cheating and that both the student who copied and the student who allowed their work to be copied will receive zeros and a referral. It only takes one time in the beginning of the year for it not to happen again.
     
  10. raneydae

    raneydae Companion

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    May 7, 2009

    I teach math and almost always my homework is the odd problems in the book, which have the answers in the back anyways. And homework only counts for 10%. I realistically expect at least half of them to just copy anyways.

    But I give lots of quizzes, and continuously remind them that homework is their practice so that they can learn. Tests are worth 70% of their grade in my class, so they better learn it if they want to pass! :)
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 7, 2009

    If your students know that you will collect and grade every homework, instead of checking them, they will be much less likely to cheat. I know (from my own son), that cheating is alot more likely when homework is simply checked for completion.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 8, 2009

    I think this is a great policy.

    10% homework/classwork/practice
    45% minor assessments (small quizzes/small projects)
    45% major assessments (large quizzes/tests/large projects)

    Counting homework or practice work for 10% is probably enough of an incentive for them to do it, but it's not enough to severely impact a student's grade if it turns out to be copied or whatever. (Frankly, I wouldn't have a problem with not counting homework towards the final grade at all, but I can see the potential problems with doing it that way.)
     
  13. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    May 8, 2009

    I don't really check the math homework often, unless it's for completion. When I taught biology, I would assign readings and give reading quizzes on them. Nothing bothers me more than students copying work from other students.

    It does not happen so much now, because students know that I will give them zeros and refer them to the assistant principal.
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    May 17, 2009

    If the reading is for the discussion the next day then why not evaluate them based on their discussion participation instead of the 4 easily copied questions?
     

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