Improving homework *policies: Surveying teacher attitudes and behaviors

Richard Wiesenthal, Fordham University

Abstract

Homework has been a perennial concern of educators, parents, and students alike. It has been viewed by some as a make-work, make-shift waste of time. Research regarding teacher attitudes toward homework and associated in-class behaviors is rather limited. A review of the literature reveals that no effective method for measuring teacher attitudes toward homework and associated in-class behaviors exists. The focus of this study is three-fold. Initially, this researcher developed a reliable and valid instrument for measuring teacher attitudes and in-class behaviors associated with the homework process. Subsequently, four different school districts were studied in order to determine if a relationship exists between the teacher attitudes and in-class practices related to homework. Third, the researcher examined what relationships, if any, exist between school homework policy and teacher attitudes and behaviors toward homework. ^ A review of the literature established the empirical grounding for the subscales that comprise the Homework Attitude and Behavior Inventory for Teachers (HABIT). A panel of experts confirmed the content validity of the instrument by reaching agreement on each of the 37 statements that form the six subscales. The reliability and validity of the instrument were determined by analyzing the data obtained by having 117 teachers in four middle schools complete the instrument. The complete instrument had a Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient of .9800 with each subscale achieving a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of at least .9090. An analysis of variance was conducted and confirmed the instrument's validity in discriminating teacher attitude toward homework and related in-class behaviors among the different schools. The construct validity of the instrument was determined by examining the intercorrelation coefficients of each of the subscales. The final test of the instrument's validity was an analysis of each of the school's scores on the instrument and a comparison of these scores with an independent appraisal of each of the school's focus on homework. ^ This instrument can be used by researchers, practitioners, and education officials to analyze teacher attitudes toward homework and related in-class behaviors at the individual school or district level. The HABIT instrument provides a way to conceptualize teacher attitudes toward homework and their relationship to in-class behaviors, measure them, and relate them to educational outcomes. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Richard Wiesenthal, "Improving homework *policies: Surveying teacher attitudes and behaviors" (January 1, 1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9975366.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9975366

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