Primary Strategies for Promoting Homework Performance

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The study aimed at facilitating the homework performance of seventh graders with learning difficulties entering an integrated junior high school, by first identifying areas of difficulty and then designing and implementing an intervention. In Study 1, data concerning students' (N = 19) difficulties were obtained via nonparticipant classroom observations, open-ended student interviews, and teacher reports. Three major domains of difficulty were identified: recording homework assignments, subsequent access to and initial organization of tasks, and making sense of assignments. In Study 2, a curriculum unit targeting these domains was developed, comprising technical/management procedures and low order cognitive skills. Pre-seventh graders with learning problems (N = 56) were administered the unit during summer school. Pre- and post-unit performance was evaluated via a questionnaire comprising a technical and a cognitive scale and by a set of brief academic achievement tests. Performance was found to improve significantly, with no decline in students' scores at a 3-month follow-up. The students' pretest scores and, secondarily, their scores on several subscales of the academic achievement test were shown to predict their posttest success, suggesting the usefulness of this measure in detecting students of greater need. The novelty of the study lies in revealing the difficulties experienced by students even in technical skill areas, before an application of complex cognitive skills is needed, and in demonstrating the effectiveness of a summer school intervention targeting technical/management homework strategies in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-725
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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