May 282013

Homework has been in discussion for a while in my circles. Is it useful? Why do we assign it? Etc. I came across one strong reason why we should really stop grading homework and start grading other activities that demonstrate learning.

That reason? It is image I used to think Chegg was just a place from which to rent textbooks, but that is just not true. They also SELL the complete solutions to every textbook we use in my district.


That’s right. They sell the solutions manual. This list of MATH textbooks they have available is 75 pages long if you wanted to print it. I checked. I found our Algebra 2 book, the Trig/Precalc book, and the AP Calc book on the list.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not think Chegg is doing anything illegal. Immoral perhaps, but not illegal. They are just selling something that some learners will use to cheat. That is not Chegg’s problem, it is the learner’s problem. Other learners would use it as a tool for learning. Don’t blame the tool, focus on the learner, AND focus on my policies that encourage cheating.

After all, why would I make a large percent of a learners grade something called “homework” when the reality is that category really could be called, “that stuff you copy out of the book but don’t really understand but still get full credit.”

Having a service like Chegg available just makes it easier to justify moving to SBG and away from traditional “homework” type assignments.

Thank you Chegg!

  4 Responses to “One good reason to stop grading homework”

  1. Okay, I feel ignorant. What does SBG stand for? Thanks!

  2. Sorry! Standards Based Grading. I included some of my Diigo links to articles on SBG. It is a very powerful way to put the control in the hands of the learners and to encourage them to do the work instead of me.

  3. In college courses, there is the expectation that students will work two hours outside of class for every hour of classtime. I want to encourage my students to do their homework, so I keep track of what they’ve done. But I have always assigned the odd-numbered problems so they could check their answers in the back of the textbook. (Chegg has done me neither a service nor a disservice.)

    Some of my tests used to be take-home. I gave that up years ago in most classes. I asked them to correct their tests at home in discrete math, and I think they actually did it themselves. (I had previously asked them to prove something at home, and I think most of them looked it up online. I told them that didn’t help them learn. They saw that I could recognize looked up answers.)

  4. Thank you Sue. I think that Chegg just puts the nail in the coffin of teachers who assign 4 through 80, every fourth problem (yes, I know of more than one teacher who does that.) With those types of assignments, it just encourages learners to use services like Chegg instead of doing the work themselves.

    The real problem is the teacher, not the service or the learner!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>