The 5 Metrics You Need to Know for Tracking Effective Homework

Author: Bethany Spencer

Posted: 05 Mar 2018

Estimated time to read: 6 mins

As a teacher, setting effective homework is only half the battle, getting your students to actually complete it is the other. Ensuring the work you set is effective will heighten your chances of students completing it. However, tracking effective homework can be difficult if you don't know exactly which metrics you should monitor in order to find out if you’re onto home-learning success. From working with schools across the country since 2011, we've outlined the 5 success metrics you know for tracking effective homework.

tracking the effectiveness of homework

Homework Success Metric #1 Improved grades

The intent of homework is to improve students’ greater understanding of a topic, ultimately to ensure they are equipped to achieve their best possible grades during exams. In order to see how much information your students have retained as a result of both class work and home-learning is to have a clear record of all the marks they have achieved for their homework.

Monitoring students’ homework results and ensuring they follow an upward trajectory will help you to identify if the homework you set is helping to consolidate what is being taught it class. If homework is effective, students understand the content and are completing it, their grades should improve.

Ways to track

Create a spreadsheet whereby once you’ve marked homework tasks you can enter the grades and comments you’ve awarded students with here. To make things easier for you, create a master grading spreadsheet for each year group with separate tabs for each class you have.

Tracking with Show My Homework

We host all grades online via our online Gradebook. Results from Spelling Tests and Quizzes are populated automatically and additional tasks can be updated in the same place. Having all homework setting and grading tools in one place makes it easy for you to gauge students’ understanding of a topic.

Also, all grades are colour-coded and accessible to you, students and parents so you can all see at a glance how well students are performing and if any learning gaps have occurred.

Homework Success Metric #2 Hand-in Rates

A clear sign of a successful homework is one that actually gets handed in. The completion of homework means that you have appealed to students and engaged them enough both in the lesson and at home to motivate them to do the work assigned to them.

In order to assess which types of homework students react most positively to, vary the types of homework that you set and track hand-in rates. If you see that certain students/classes react better to certain styles, try and tailor your homework to suit this and reap the benefits of your class completing their homework and strengthening their understanding of a topic.

Ways to track

Keeping track of homework submissions without an online aid can be done, although it requires one to be attentive in order to get the most value out of it. Keeping a spreadsheet that documents the homework assignment, due date, submission status and homework type for each class and student will help you get an idea of who is handing their work in and which homework types students are receptive to.

Tracking with Show My Homework

We understand how important it is to track hand-in rates which is why we’ve tried to make this as simple as possible for you to do so. For each class we provide Insights whereby you can see a full overview of which students in your class have or have not submitted their homework.

In a further attempt to streamline the tracking of homework hand-in rates we’ve also developed automated reports that track the submission of homework for you. Our Student Submissions Report provides you with a clear record of when homework is or isn’t handed in. For each of your classes you can see students’ submission statuses as well as the homework type, helping you to make an informed decision for future homework pieces.

Homework Success Metric #3 Feedback

Students are going to be your harshest critics when it comes to analysing the homework you’ve set. In terms of collecting qualitative data, a good way of doing this is asking your class to give feedback on how they found the homework. This will help you to gauge how they are interacting with the work you set on a personal level, and their enjoyment and the praise they give you will provide you with the knowledge you need to decipher whether or not they rate your homework as a success or not.  

Ways to track

Usually in homework diaries, there are comment sections. When assigning the homework be sure to ask for students to provide their feedback and take note of the general consensus. You can also use class time to gain verbal feedback, but make sure you’re strict on how long you collect feedback for so there’s no impact on your teaching.

Tracking with Show My Homework

Once homework has been submitted online, students and teachers are then able to communicate with one another via comments in the Gradebook. When setting your homework, be sure to ask students to provide their feedback. You will be notified when students have commented and you can open a dialogue with them to find out just what they did and did not enjoy about the task.

Homework Success Metric #4 Understanding

Perhaps the most significant thing that will tell you if your homework was a success or not, is the work that gets returned to you. If you have set a successful piece of homework, the work submitted by your class will be, for the most part, correct and students will have either attempted to work in the manner you would have expected them to do. Due to not all homework types following the same grading system, depending on the subject, setting spelling tests and quizzes is a simple but effective way to grasp your classes understanding of an entire topic.

Ways to track

By opting for quizzes as homework tasks, you can compare results and therefore gauge students’ understanding over time for an indication of how they’re performing. To do this, you will need to set and then record results, and for best results, compare these over time.

Tracking with Show My Homework

Our Quizzes and Spelling Tests are auto-graded so both you and your students instantly know how well they’ve performed. Results are populated into our online Gradebook and colour coded so progression is easy to track for individual students and the whole class. Students are also provided with three chances to complete the quizzes, immediately showing improved grades for any given homework.

Homework Success Metric #5 Engagement

In order for homework to reach its full capabilities, engagement from both parents and students needs to be high. The EEF have found that parental involvement can add up to 3 months’ additional learning onto a student’s education and therefore engaging parents in the home-learning you set should be on your agenda.

The support parents can provide at home not only heightens the likelihood students will complete homework, but provides you with the peace of mind that students have help if they need it, not to mention when parents are actively involved in their child’s homework it helps with their overall school involvement helping to create a stronger sense of community in your school.

Ways to track

When homework is recorded in paper planners, most should provide a section for parents’ signatures and comments which should be signed at the end of each week. A parent signature should indicate that they have seen the homework their child has been set and allows teachers to see any necessary comments. This will give teachers a good indication as to which parents are checking homework and the families that are less involved.

Tracking with Show My Homework

Historically, it’s proven difficult to get a clear view of how well engaged parents are with homework. To make this easier for teachers, we created Insights whereby teachers can easily see if parents are viewing the homework that has been set.

This visibility provides a good indication as to which parents are engaged in their child’s homework and who perhaps needs guidance on the importance of parental engagement in their child’s studies.

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