Homework on the Board

Where I teach in New York, I know that other instructors commonly do the following -- Prior to the start of a class session, require a few (2 or 3) students to write the results of a homework problem on the chalkboard. From what I can tell, these problems are not assessed or discussed in any way (the instructor just starts the class with some other lecture topic). My impression is that students are checked off for meeting this requirement a few times through the semester (but it's not attendance; that's done separately). This is not something I ever encountered in my schooling, nor have I ever read about as a suggested technique in any report or study.

Can someone explain to me, or link for me, what the rationale of this practice is?


  1. Sounds like a way to encourage them to actually do the homework. That's just a guess, though.

  2. Ditto Glowing Face Man.

    It does remind me of a different practice one of my math professors used. He would not grade homework, but instead start the class with a five minute open-note quiz featuring one of the problems from the assignment (this was the entirety of the grade contribution from homework/attendance). Those that had completed the homework could merely copy the problem from their notes, while those of us that had previous exposure to the material could work the problem in the time allowed, which gave us pretty good feedback on when we were starting to get out of our depth and needed to start working more of the practices.

    Not universal perhaps, but it worked pretty well in a class that included first-time calc students, a few that had learned calc in high school but needed the college credit, and a number of re-takers.

  3. Yeah, I guess that must be it.

    I like the idea of frequent feedback and assessment (and using it as attendance, etc.), but I'm way down on the paper shuffling involved (copying, processing), and it doesn't scale to larger groups. I'm real happy that I can do online quizzes with automatic grading between each class for that now.