Sunday, May 3, 2009

Data Point: How to Fix Education with Print

Back in the days when I did some volunteer work in a bottom of the pyramid high school I saw how a piece of paper increased homework compliance from 10% to 80%.

Here's how it worked.
Each student was given a notebook. The daily assignment was to stop for 10 minutes and either write or sketch an image that captured what they were thinking about at that moment. A page was due every day.When the students came into class, they dropped their piece of paper into a box as they entered the class.

On week one, approximately 10 % of the students handed in the assignment every day.

At the beginning of week two, each student was given a piece of paper with a chart. It had each student's name in the left column. Across the top was each day of the week. There was a check mark if they had done the assignment and a blank if they didn't.

No words were spoken. But the following week compliance went up to about 50%.

At the beginning of week three, the same piece of paper was distributed with the following additional words.
Starting this week, if you miss three assignments you will fail this class and have to repeat it. Please have your parent or guardian sign this piece of paper to indicate that everyone understands the rules. If you or your parent or guardian would like to discuss any special situation or problem, please call Ms XYZ between 10:00 and 10:45 am at xyz-1234.
At the bottom of the paper was a place for the parent to sign. There was also space to indicate the best way to get in connect with them; phone, mobile phone, work phone, best time to call.

No words were spoken.

As expected only about 50% of the students returned with the paper signed by the parent/guardian. But the following week homework compliance was 80%.

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