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**Curriculum & Staff Development Center**

Homework & Practice Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement Compiled from: Classroom Instruction That Works! By: Robert J. Marzano, Debra J. Pickering & Jane E. Pollock Facilitator’s Manual By: McREL Participant’s Manual Curriculum & Staff Development Center

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Training Outcomes Understand the benefits of homework and practice as a way to effectively extend learning. Identify recommended practices to get the most out of homework and practice.

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**Homework & Practice Category Homework & Practice .77 28 134**

Ave. Effect Size (ES) Percentile Gain No. of ESs Identifying Similarities and Differences 1.61 45 31 Summarizing & Note Taking 1.0 34 179 Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition .80 29 21 Homework & Practice .77 28 134 Nonlinguistic representations .75 27 246 Cooperative Learning .73 122 Setting Objectives & Providing Feedback .61 23 408 Generating & Testing Hypotheses 63 Questions, Cues, and Advance Organizers .59 22 1,251 Meta-Analysis of the research on instruction identified nine categories of instructional strategies that have a high probability of enhancing student achievement. This chart illustrates the average effect size and percentile gains realized from the use of these strategies in the classroom. Note the highlighted row for HOMEWORK & PRACTICE. Effect size is the unit of measurement that researchers use to report study results. A simple way to understand effect size is to translate into percentile gains, which is done with a mathematical formula. What this chart tells us is that on average, the use of this strategy produced a percentile gain of 28 points. Keep in mind……. Even though the research has taught us a great deal….. There are still some things we don’t yet know, such as… Are some instructional strategies more effective: ~ in certain subject areas? ~ at certain grade levels? ~ with students from different backgrounds? ~ with students of different aptitude? No strategy works will in ALL situations AND the effectiveness of any strategy depends on the thoughtfulness and skill the teacher brings in using the strategy

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Homework Extend the learning opportunities for students to practice, review and apply knowledge. Homework is a strategy that provides students with opportunities to deepen their understanding of content and to gain proficiency with their skills. It also gives students a chance to practice and review what they have learned.

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**Table Talk Toaster Sink Plate Oven**

Draw a square and divide it into 4 equal boxes. Write one word in each box related to household items. For example,……. Toaster Sink Plate Oven Work with a partner at your table to complete the following metaphor… Homework is a(n)_________________________________because _____________________________________________________________. Give participants a few minutes to write their responses. Share responses with a partner. Share a few out loud with whole group.

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**Four Planning Questions for Instruction**

What knowledge will students learn? Which strategies will provide evidence that students have learned that knowledge? Which strategies will help students practice, review, and apply that knowledge? When planning, teachers can use four questions to help understand the interaction between promoting student learning and the nine categories of effective instructional strategies. If you have been to other Marzano trainings, these four questions may look familiar to you. To review: Question # 1 Having the objective stated in clear and specific terms. When teachers tell students, what they are going to learn, it provides a “hook” for student to place their thinking, and helps them to focus their learning goals. State the learning objective in clear and specific terms. Question # 2 Asks how the teacher will know whether a student has learned the knowledge that was presented. Formative and summative Clearly identify the expected level of performance for the knowledge that students are supposed to learn Provide multiple opportunities for students to engage in activities that allow them to demonstrate what they are learning. Collect additional evidence as necessary (end of unit tests, observations, self assessment.) Use the evidence to determine the level of proficiency students are attaining Question # 3 Asks the teachers to think about what he or she will do to teach the objective. Help students access prior knowledge Help students make connections between their prior knowledge and the new knowledge Help students organize info and see patterns Provide students with the steps and/or component parts if they are learning a skill or process Model the steps and/or how to engage in the component parts if they are learning a skill or process Question # 4 This final question asks teachers to think about what they will do to provide opportunities for student practice, review and application of that knowledge. Help students clear up confusions and misconceptions they might have about information Help students correct errors they are making as they perform a skill or process Engage students in projects (e.g., performance tasks) that ask them to apply what they have learned in meaningful contexts. Which strategies will help students acquire and integrate that knowledge?

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**Four Planning Questions for Instruction**

What knowledge will students learn? Which strategies will provide evidence that students have learned that knowledge? HOMEWORK Homework is a key factor in three of the four planning questions. Which strategies will provide evidence that students have learned that knowledge? Which strategies will help students acquire and integrate that knowledge? Which strategies will help students practice, review, and apply that knowledge? Which strategies will help students practice, review, and apply that knowledge? Which strategies will help students practice, review, and apply that knowledge?

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**Generalizations from Research: Homework**

The amount of homework assigned to students should be different from elementary to high school. 2. Parental involvement in homework should be kept to a minimum. The purpose of homework should be identified and articulated. 4. If homework is assigned, it should be commented on. # 1: The recommended number of minutes assigned to homework should be different at different levels. The general recommendation is that 10 minutes per grade level is acceptable. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the issue of homework at elementary level because many believe that young children should have little or not homework and that homework interferes with family time. # 2: It is not the responsibility of the parent to do their child’s homework and their involvement should be kept to a minimum. Parents can facilitate homework by providing a place, a time, and the resources to do the work. Parents can provide feedback and prompts. They emphasize the importance of homework and support their children as they develop the study skills to complete the work. # 3: Teachers should be clear with their students as to the purpose of the homework assignment. Two common purposes are (1) practice and (2) preparation or elaboration. # 4: IF homework is assigned, it should be commented on!!! While appropriate, graded homework makes an impact on student achievement, the great impact comes from homework that the teacher responds to with written comments.

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**Recommendations for Classroom Practice: Homework**

1. Establish and communicate a homework policy. 2. Design homework assignments that clearly articulate the purpose and outcome. 3. Vary the approaches to providing feedback. Homework is an area that can be very personal to teachers. Inconsistencies can exist in no school or district policy is in place. The importance of the generalizations from research are particularly helpful to teachers and to a

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**Establish and Communicate a Homework Policy**

Recommendation # 1 Establish and Communicate a Homework Policy Students need to understand purpose, amount and the consequences for not completing the homework assignment. Review slide. Letter to parents explaining homework policy.

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Recommendation # 2 Design homework assignments that clearly articulate the purpose and outcome. Teachers need to be explicit so that students can focus on the right work. Ask students to use homework assignment sheets to keep track of their homework. Review slide

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**Example: Homework assignment**

Subject Due Date What is the assignment? What are the students supposed to be learning? ( They should know more about…..? Be more skilled at….? How does this relate to what I am covering in class? This slide is an example for an assignment sheet. Think about the format you use to articulate to students the purpose and outcome of a homework assignment. If you do not use a format or provide time for students to complete one, consider doing soll

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**Vary the approaches to providing feedback.**

Recommendation # 3 Vary the approaches to providing feedback. If you assign homework – comment on it! Review the “Providing Feedback” strategy for varying feedback. Have students provide some of their own feedback. High quality, specific feedback that is timely is important.

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Practice Enhance students’ ability to reach the expected level of proficiency for a skill or process. Practice is a strategy that helps student deepen their understanding of content and become proficient with skills. Students need to practice skills and procedures before they can use them effectively. This next section deals with the number of practice sessions needed to use new knowledge effectively. You will also learn that because it is easy for errors to slip in when students are practicing, teachers should point out erros and pitfalls early on before students internalize them.

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Table Talk Think about the purpose of practice. Discuss with the person next to you, “Why do you think it might take longer for some students to become proficient in some skills or practices than others?” Allow 2- 3 minutes for this pair-share activity. Ask for volunteers to share out.

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**Four Planning Questions for Instruction**

What knowledge will students learn? Which strategies will provide evidence that students have learned that knowledge? Which strategies will help students practice, review, and apply that knowledge? Which strategies will help students acquire and integrate that knowledge?

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**Four Planning Questions for Instruction**

What knowledge will students learn? Which strategies will provide evidence that students have learned that knowledge? Practice Practice fits best with the question “Which strategies will help students practice, review, and apply that knowledge?” Which strategies will help students practice, review, and apply that knowledge? Which strategies will help students acquire and integrate that knowledge?

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**Generalizations from Research on Practice**

Mastering a skill or a process requires a fair amount of focused practice. While practicing, students should adapt and shape what they have learned. The first generalization states that mastering a skill or a process requires focused practice. It is not until students have practice a skill or a process about 24 times that they reach 80 percent competency. That means that even thought it may seem students have mastered a skill or process after a few short practice sessions, research tells us that practice must continue in order for them to truly master that skill to a level of automaticity. Focused practice is the most powerful type of practice since it causes students work harder on the steps of a process or skill they have yet to master. The second generalization from the research is that while practicing, students should adapt and shape what they have learned. During the learning process, students need multiple opportunities to continually make adaptations as they shape their understanding before mastering the new skill or process. Practice IS NOT the time to press for speed at a skill. IT IS a time to attend to the needs of the learner by slowly walking the learning through a few practice examples accompanied by immediate feedback. NOTE TO TRAINER: First phase of learning a skill involves understanding what the process involves. Teachers help by using think-aloud process to demonstrate the skill, providing or constructing with the students a graphic or written representation of the skill, helping students see how it is like and unlike other skills they already know, and teaching students to mentally rehearse the steps of the skill. The second phase of learning a skill is shaping which involves making changes to the initial model of the skill by adding some things and dropping others. You also learn how to use the skill in different contexts and become aware of common errors and potential problems when using the skill. You might discover tricks that make the skill easier to perform or shortcuts that make the skill more efficient. Teachers can helps students shape skills by demonstrating the important variations of the skill and providing opportunities for students to practice, find common errors and pitfalls, and help students develop the conceptual understanding necessary to use the skill. The third phase of learning a skill is internalizing. This involved developing automaticity or fluency.

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**Recommendations for Classroom Practice: Practice**

1. Ask students to chart their speed and accuracy. 2. Design practice that focuses on specific elements of a complex skill or process. 3. Plan time for students to increase their conceptual understanding of skills or processes. Practice is an activity that we engage in when we want to learn a skill or process so that we can do it fluently or without much conscious thought. There are three recommendation for classroom practice related to practice. We will go in more detail with each with the next few slides.

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**Ask students to chart their speed and accuracy.**

Recommendation # 1 Ask students to chart their speed and accuracy. When developing skills, the emphasis can be on speed for some skills and accuracy for others. Or, it could be that speed and accuracy are equally important to a skill. For example: Speed and accuracy are important to learning to tell time. If it takes too long to figure out what time it is, the opportunity to do something is gone. Speed is not as important when converting English standard to metric units. Accuracy is more important with this skill.

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**Example: Chart of Speed and Accuracy**

Charting My Speed and Accuracy I. M. Speedy Number of items in my practice set Number of items performed correctly Number of minutes to finish the practice set 5 4 4.5 4. 3 3.5 10 8 Let’s take a look at a student’s chart used to track speed and accuracy.

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Recommendation # 2 Design practice that focuses on specific elements of a complex skill or process. The idea of “focused practice” is important when students are practicing a multi-step skill or process. For example, the reading process, the writing process, scientific inquiry. If a particular aspect of the process is troublesome for a student, he might need to be given assignments that focus on one aspect. While the student is still engaged in the overall skill or process – the target of practice for this particular student is that one particular, troublesome aspect of that skill or practice.

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**Relationship between Massed and Distributed Practice**

Week Week Week Week 4 If you plan practice sessions that are close together at first (massed practice) and then spaced out over time (distributed practice), you will provide students with the time they need to practice various aspects of the skill or process. This chart illustrates the relationship between massed and distributed practice.

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**Recommendation # 3 Plan time for students to increase their conceptual**

It is important for students to be able to perform skills and processes fluently and with speed and/or accuracy. It is also important for students to understand how a skill or process works because without conceptual understanding, students might use procedures ineffectively or misunderstand when and why to use them. Learning a skill does not automatically mean students will develop conceptual understanding. If you want students to develop conceptual understanding of a skill or process, you must explicitly plan activities and a sufficient number of practice sessions to accomplish this purpose. These activities should be part of the shaping phase of learning.

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Key Points Mastering a skill or process requires a fair amount of focused practice. Skill learning in itself does not ensure conceptual understanding. Skill learning without conceptual understanding can result in limited understanding or incorrect use of procedures. Review slide

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Key Points, cont. Students must adapt or shape skills as they learn them in order to develop conceptual understanding. During the shaping phase of learning a new skill or process, it is important for students to work with the skill or process in a limited number of situations and to receive feedback about how well they are performing the skill or process. Review slide

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**Reflection on Learning**

What have you learned about practice? What questions do you have about practice? What changes might you make in your classroom related to practice? What support might you need to make these changes? Complete Handout of Reflection on Learning

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