My problem is thus: the course grade contains a portion allotted to weekly work. Homework and quizzes are the two main options. Last time I taught this course I opted for the default of quizzes, because it was the recommended option and it was the first time that I taught the course. However, despite my emphasizing the importance of working through the, non-graded, homework problems, I do not believe much of my class did, and I think their grades suffered consequentially. I could continue with this method, since their grade is, ultimately, their responsibility, however I am tired of feeling like I am failing my students, and would like to take a less scorched earth approach this year.

One option, and this is the one which I am currently favoring, is to inform them that the quiz problems will be selected from the suggested homework problems. This seems like it might provide added incentive for students to work the homework problems, as well as assist them in knowing how to study for the quizzes. On the other hand, however, it means that the quizzes will not be as representative of the exam, which is what I normally like to do with them, as on the exam I try to ask questions that emphasize what I think is important from the material.

What I had decided to do prior to thinking about it during the course organizational meeting was to simply have them submit the homework problems then grade an unannounced subset. If I am mainly trying to get them to do the homework, why introduce the middle man in the form of quizzes was my train of thought. Since there are so many homework problems, it would be incredibly time consuming for me to grade all of them, thus the unannounced subset bit. However, it occurred to me that this might still be hard for me to do efficiently if homework was messy. Thus I would have to impose some organizational requirements, which, although salutary for my students as budding mathematicians, would likely require a lot of effort on their part to implement for all the homework questions. In the end this seemed likely to result in more work for my students than simply allowing them to do the homework in whatever form makes sense to them then having them take additional quizzes.

One option, and this is the one which I am currently favoring, is to inform them that the quiz problems will be selected from the suggested homework problems. This seems like it might provide added incentive for students to work the homework problems, as well as assist them in knowing how to study for the quizzes. On the other hand, however, it means that the quizzes will not be as representative of the exam, which is what I normally like to do with them, as on the exam I try to ask questions that emphasize what I think is important from the material.

What I had decided to do prior to thinking about it during the course organizational meeting was to simply have them submit the homework problems then grade an unannounced subset. If I am mainly trying to get them to do the homework, why introduce the middle man in the form of quizzes was my train of thought. Since there are so many homework problems, it would be incredibly time consuming for me to grade all of them, thus the unannounced subset bit. However, it occurred to me that this might still be hard for me to do efficiently if homework was messy. Thus I would have to impose some organizational requirements, which, although salutary for my students as budding mathematicians, would likely require a lot of effort on their part to implement for all the homework questions. In the end this seemed likely to result in more work for my students than simply allowing them to do the homework in whatever form makes sense to them then having them take additional quizzes.

Finally, I considered doing a hybrid of homework and quizzes. Homework most of the time, as detailed above, but four quizzes on weeks prior to exams. Ostensibly to provide a review, my actual reason for wanting these quizzes was the aforementioned goal of providing them with an example of how I write questions before they see them on the test, since I sometimes consider book problems too insipid to simply mimic.

So, if you have any thoughts on this topic, feel free to leave them with me :)

So, if you have any thoughts on this topic, feel free to leave them with me :)