Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Dan Rea

Committee Member 1

Cordelia Zinskie

Committee Member 2

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 3

Jerri Kropp

Abstract

Mixed views exist on the benefits of homework for elementary students. The focus of this interpretive case study was to understand the influences on the homework experiences of 10 low-socioeconomic, African American kindergarten students. The general research question framed by Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory was stated as followed: How do the students' personal processes, the parents' home and the teachers school classroom environments, and the students' school academic behaviors interact to influence the homework experiences of low-socioeconomic, African-American kindergarten students? The data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Interviews and records of homework and quiz grades revealed that self-efficacy and high-performance expectations were influences exhibited by students noted to have positive homework experiences. They were motivated to complete their homework and earned moderately high grades on their homework accuracy scores and quizzes. Other influences were noted. All of the students had a time and a place to complete their homework. Most of the parents had adequate resources to assist their children with their homework. All of the students' parents (all mothers in this study) assisted them with their homework and believed that the type and amount of homework were appropriate. Homework did not interfere with any of the student's family activities. Most of the parents believed that students should spend about an hour per night on their homework, and all of the parents reported verbally praising their children when they completed their homework. The teachers instructional method of distributed practice and practice homework appeared to benefit the students. Educational barriers to the homework learning experiences for a small number of students included the need for more homework, the need to raise the difficulty level of the homework, the confusing wording of some homework assignments, the lengthiness of the teachers lectures, and distracting manipulatives on the students' tables used for instruction. These barriers did not greatly impair homework success or academic progress.

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