Comparison with Traditional
Homework Assignments

How is CPMP Homework Different from Traditional Programs and Why?
As a concerned parent, you want to take an interest in what your child is doing at home to support the learning that takes place in class. In traditional programs, this is facilitated in two ways: the content and presentation of the mathematics in the traditional text has not changed markedly in the past 20 years, so the problems may look familiar; and the text offers sample problems, so that even if parents do not understand or remember a technique they can usually follow the examples supplied. In CPMP and other NSF-funded programs, there has been a deliberate attempt to move away from having students go through the motions of following an example, and towards having students actively make sense of the mathematics they learn in class.

Traditional Texts
Mostly familiar mathematics Some unfamiliar mathematics
Sample problems in text Guiding questions in text
Sample solutions in text Student solutions in notes and summaries
Following someone else's reasoning More independent sense making


Homework Assignment
Homework Assignment
Usually numerical or short answer Sometimes short, often more lengthy answers
Some symbolic work or algorithm demonstrated Symbolic or graphical/tabular evidence, accompanied by a complete explanation
Rarely a check Reflection on whether answer is reasonable and supported by evidence
Problems are typically divided into sections: "A" questions are designed to be almost identical to the examples demonstrated; "B" questions are designed to be more complex examples; "C" questions are often applications. Problem sets are labeled MORE: "Modeling" tasks are usually applications of the concepts developed in class to somewhat different contexts. "Organizing" tasks are designed to help students connect the underlying mathematical ideas across strands. "Reflecting" tasks ask students to think about their own thinking processes. "Extending" tasks provide students opportunities to explore further or more deeply the mathematics they are learning.

For evidence to support, see Research on Learning.
For specific organization tips, see CPMP Classrooms and Using the Math Toolkit.

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