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Project Homework
<b>Chemistry Education<br> <br> <br> </b>
Chemistry Education


Project leader  
Prof. Dr. Elke Sumfleth  
Dr. Isabell von Ackeren  
 
Project Collaborator  
Corinna Kieren  
 
Project period:  
10.2006-9.2009
 
Grant reference: SU 187/8-1
Background, Aims and Framework
Practice of homework in the Chemistry classroom  

Under certain conditions homework studies show positive effects on students’ cognitive achievement. With respect to chemistry education, different types of homework like, for example, experimental tasks or laboratory reports can be introduced apart from regular homework practice. The goal of this research project is to collect and analyse data on current homework practice in German chemistry education. Therefore teachers of 10th-grade students in German secondary schools are questioned. The data collection takes place in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Schleswig-Holstein - both with PISA peak values - and North Rhine-Westphalia, for which the PISA data points out significant differences with regard to the duration of homework. With reference to the standards of optimal homework which have been worked out in research so far actual homework practice will be categorised (e.g. regarding the frequency, the length, the kind of setting, the complexity of tasks and the form of checking of chemistry homework). Through the formation of extreme groups (optimal homework versus dysfunctional and no homework) an intervention study is planned in order to make predictions whether modifying the 'homework design' results in higher learning outcomes in chemistry education. Furthermore, possibilities of improvement are offered.

Methods and Samples

The first step of this project is the video analysis of videotaped chemistry lessons with regard to homework. The coding manual includes the distinction of placing and checking homework, the medial presentation of tasks, the integration into the process of lessons, the tasks level of competence and the kind of tasks. The goal is to develop hypotheses about current homework practice. The second step of this project is to scrutinize the current homework practice. Therefore, the teachers in German secondary schools are questioned about 10th-grade chemistry classes. For that reason a homework related questionnaire for teachers concerning criteria of ideal homework design is developed. The data collection takes place in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Schleswig-Holstein - both with PISA peak values - and North Rhine-Westphalia, for which the PISA data points out significant differences with regard to the duration of homework. Due to these conditions we can anticipate a large variance of homework practice between as well as within the federal states. With reference to the standards of ideal homework actual homework practice will be categorised for formation of extreme groups (A, B). In the third step an intervention study is planned in order to make predictions whether modifying the 'homework design' results in higher learning outcomes in chemistry education. The intervention includes a teaching unit round about six to ten lessons with homework concerning acid-bases. The design of this homework of the intervention bases on the standards of ideal homework. That is to say e.g. a short task for every lesson with checking of solution during each lesson. The following instruments will come to be used in the intervention study: homework related questionnaire for teachers, homework-related questionnaires for students and parents, achievement test (acid-bases), interest related questionnaire, cognitive ability test and questionnaire of social background. Group A is the first control group, which includes the teachers with best practice homework. Group B is divided up into an intervention (B2) and a second control group (B1). The intervention group receives homework which has been developed in accordance with the criteria of ideal homework.

Results
Practice of homework in the Chemistry classroom    
 
Applicants for grant: Prof. Dr. Elke Sumfleth, Dr. Isabell von Ackeren    
Assistant in Project: Corinna Kieren    
Project periode: 10.2006-9.2009  

Under certain conditions homework studies show positive effects on students’ cognitive achievement. With respect to chemistry education, different types of homework like, for example, experimental tasks or laboratory reports can be introduced apart from regular homework practice. The goal of this research project is to collect and analyse data on current homework practice in German chemistry education. Therefore teachers of 10th-grade students in German secondary schools are questioned. The data collection takes place in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Schleswig-Holstein - both with PISA peak values - and North Rhine-Westphalia, for which the PISA data points out significant differences with regard to the duration of homework. With reference to the standards of optimal homework which have been worked out in research so far actual homework practice will be categorised (e.g. regarding the frequency, the length, the kind of setting, the complexity of tasks and the form of checking of chemistry homework). Through the formation of extreme groups (optimal homework versus dysfunctional and no homework) an intervention study is planned in order to make predictions whether modifying the 'homework design' results in higher learning outcomes in chemistry education. Furthermore, possibilities of improvement are offered.

 
 
Publications of the Project
Publications
Journal and Proceedings  
 
•   Kieren, C. (2007). Evaluation of Homework Practice in Chemistry Education. In D. Jorde (Hrsg.), ESERA 2007. International Conference in Malmø (SE).  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2008). Entwicklung eines hausaufgabenspezifischen Lehrerfragebogens. In Höttecke, D. (Hrsg.), Gesellschaft für Didaktik der Chemie und Physik. Kompetenzen, Kompetenzmodelle, Kompetenzentwicklung. (S. 399 – 400). Berlin: Lit.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2007). Hausaufgaben im Chemieunterricht der gymnasialen Sekundarstufe I. In Höttecke, D. (Hrsg.), Gesellschaft für Didaktik der Chemie und Physik. Naturwissenschaftlicher Unterricht im internationalen Vergleich. (S. 563 – 565). Berlin: Lit.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2007). Homework in Chemistry Education at the End of Secondary School. In Osborne, J. (Hrsg.), Proceedings of the NARST 2007 annual meeting New Orleans (USA).  
 
 
Talks  
 
•   Kieren, C. (2006). Hausaufgabenpraxis im Chemieunterricht, GDCP-Doktorandentagung, Oldenburg.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2008). Pilotstudie eines optimierten Hausaufgabendesigns im gymnasialen Chemieunterricht der Sekundarstufe I, AEPF-Tagung, Kiel.  
•   Sumfleth, E., & Kieren, C. (2008). Pilotstudie zu Hausaufgaben im Chemieunterricht, GDCP-Tagung, Schwäbisch Gmünd.  
Poster zu diesem Projekt  
•   Kieren, C. (2007). Evaluation of Homework Practice in Chemistry Education, ESERA-Conference, Malmø, Schweden.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2006). Homework in Chemistry Education at the End of Secondary School, German-Swedish Graduate School Meeting, Nyköping, Schweden..  
•   Kieren, C: & Sumfleth, E. (2006). Hausaufgaben im Chemieunterricht der gymnasialen Sekundarstufe I, ZeUS-Tagung, Göttingen.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2006). Hausaufgaben im Chemieunterricht am Ende der Sekundarstufe I, AEPF-Tagung, München.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2006). Hausaufgaben im Chemieunterricht der gymnasialen Sekundarstufe I, GDCP-Tagung, Bern, Schweiz.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2007). Homework in Chemistry Education at the End of Secondary School, NARST-Tagung, New Orleans (US).  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2007). Entwicklung eines hausaufgabenspezifischen Lehrerfragebogens, GDCP-Tagung, Essen.  
•   Kieren, C., & Sumfleth, E. (2008). Homework in Chemistry Education at the End of Secondary School – Evaluation of Current Practice and Case Study of an Optimized Homework Design, Summerschool mit dem finnischen Graduiertenkolleg, Helsinki, Finnland.
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