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Taking a look at Common Core homework

Homework: It's been the bane of students everywhere since its inception. However, this time-sucking concept does have benefits for learning, which is why it's so important. The inception of the Common Core State Standards meant more rigor in schools, including difficult homework. From using new math tools on their own to reading a text in search of evidence, students are taking on challenging homework. With that in mind, here's a look at the attributes of an effective assignment:

Caters to students' learning style
According to Education World, students in early grades are still learning about the world around them. They're building basic understanding of how life works, from the color of the sky to what emotions they feel. As such, their brains are in a connection-making mode. The source suggests that the most effective homework for young students supports the work their brains are already doing. Basically, it should relate back to things students already know. That could mean creating a math lesson with real-life context or reading a book with settings students recognize.

Before the Common Core, students wrote essays or answered questions about personal experience. For instance, if they read a book about trains, they may write a paper about a time they rode on a train. This certainly helps students connect new information to something they already understand, supporting the way their brains work at that age. However, the Common Core has students do less of that kind of work. Students do still write experience essays at a young age, but they also begin to look for evidence in the text. This two-fold approach boosts content knowledge, starts to develop critical thinking and allows students to connect their education to life.

Additionally, teachers can create assignments that move math or English outside the classroom. If students have to measure their refrigerator space to determine the area available for math class, they can see the subject at work in real life.

Supports later success
Homework should help students build skills they'll use in their current grade level and beyond. If the assignment only tackles a concept for a test, it's not robust enough. Additionally, students should be able to see the value in doing their work, which only happens if they know it will help them succeed in the future. This is especially important for older students, who readily question the value of spending their time doing classwork.

Not all homework is created equal. The most helpful kind connects to life and helps students succeed beyond the classroom.