Do Your Homework

Tuesday Tip of the Week

This just in… Students who do their assignments (especially in math) do better on assessments. Go figure! Yet in spite of this tried-and-true fact, most students still opt not to complete assignments. Why?


Practicing for game day…

There’s “doing your homework” and then there’s doing your homework. “Doing your homework” means going through the motions by merely “filling in the squares” with the provided answers. Ah… if only simian capabilities were an academic standard!

Meanwhile, doing your homework means doing every problem every day. Moreover, it means showing your solution process on every problem, thereby experiencing the blood, sweat, and tears of the learning process.

The provided answers are supposed to be used to check your solutions. When you are wrong, you are supposed to do error analysis… not copy the correct answer, move on, and fool yourself into thinking you actually learned anything.

Many students say, “I don’t need to show work. I do it all in my head/calculator.” The only problem is that when these students are tasked with computing a correct answer on an exam, they mysteriously undergo a temporary degradation of skill sets. Equally mysterious is how these skills are recovered in time to “complete” the next assignment.

Folks, if you don’t “do your homework,” you may think you’re fooling your teacher. However, in reality, you’re only fooling yourself. In life, this amounts to stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. Think about this. Homework is just 10% of your overall grade, while tests and quizzes comprise 85%. (Participation accounts for the other 5%. But let’s face it, if you’re not participating, you’re not learning.)

Do your homework!

Game day…

Game day is when athletes learn whether their training sessions have paid off. Mathletes are no different. Test day reveals whether the mathletes have properly trained (i.e., practiced with homework) in the days and weeks leading up to the exam. But here are some of the more common excuses for poor performance when mathletes have not trained hard enough.

Teacher doesn’t teach it right.

Many will rationalize. “That teacher is not teaching it right. A lot of us failed.” Having several failures does not indicate that your teacher is no good. It is more likely to indicate that many students did not study.

I don’t test well.

This is the swan song of the irretrievably lazy. What’s your name? What’s your address? What’s your phone number? How old are you? I often ask, “Why is it that no one fails this test?” The inevitable reply is, “But Mr. Noldy, we know that stuff.” DING! DING! DING! When you know stuff, you pass tests on stuff.

I didn’t have time.

We all have the same 24 hours. How is it that some students manage to participate in organized athletics, excel in musical endeavors, volunteer time outside of school, and still do well academically? Meanwhile, other students seem to always be too busy to study. Intentional activity leads to achievement. Busy work (i.e., Netflix, Facebook, SnapChat, etc.) does not.


Remember that learning is a verb. Learning is something you do, not something that happens to you by being in the presence of educated people. How do you think your teachers learned the content they teach? Do you think the stork brought them to their parents with a pre-installed knowledge base? You know the answer… They mastered it through hard work and time on task.

When was a time you felt proud for an assignment?