Using the forgetting curve to set homework

My problem – and I’m sure this isn’t just mine – is that my pupils often forget what I’ve taught them.  I have inherited a Year 10 group which I am pushing hard and I simply cannot afford the time to be re-teaching topics that I’ve taught them already.  This is sort of based on the Ebbinghaus Effect – the forgetting curve.  I’m no expert on this and I only have a cursory understanding (I’m trying to develop it) but I’ve been trying something with my Year 10 class which is showing promising signs.  It isn’t rocket science and I am sure many of you reading this are doing something similar or have done.

I set my class a single homework each week.  The homework is essentially split into three parts (they aren’t in any particular order as I describe them nor on the sheets).  The first is testing their understanding of what we are covering at the moment.  The second is, based on their previous homework sheet, what they struggled on.  Of course I will have done some follow up on this after marking the sheet and before setting the next one which hopefully will show evidence of success when I mark the next one.  The final part is picking a topic we have covered in the past to ensure that my students are going back on past work and re-learning it with the hope that by revisiting (more than once over a year – maybe twice or three times) the understanding sticks that little bit better.  It may be that this topic is an underlying skill needed for the next topic I want to cover, but not always.

Where possible I also add links to Corbett Maths videos to enable students to use these to help them to try and develop a little more self reliance and resilience.  They get a copy of the sheet but I upload one to Show My Homework (the homework package we currently use) as a PDF which they can download and simply click the link.

The most recent sheet contains questions on Pythagoras’ theorem which we are currently covering, some questions on compound measures which caused problems on last weeks sheet (a topic we covered last week) and then I’ve decided to re-visit solving simultaneous linear equations – something we covered before Christmas.

Anyway – as I say – nothing earth shattering but it has been received well by my students and it does seem to be having an impact on their confidence in assessments.  I’m just putting it out there if anyone finds them useful.  If you do, please let me know.  I’ve uploaded all bar the first one below (I can’t seem to find the first one!!!) as word files.

YEAR 10 Homework 2

YEAR 10 Homework 3

YEAR 10 Homework 4

YEAR 10 Homework 5

YEAR 10 Homework 6

YEAR 10 Homework 7

YEAR 10 Homework 8

YEAR 10 Homework 9

YEAR 10 Homework 10

YEAR 10 Homework 11

YEAR 10 Homework 12

YEAR 10 Homework 13

YEAR 10 Homework 14

YEAR 10 Homework 15

YEAR 10 Homework 16

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Mr Chadburn