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Read more about how Siyavula's top assignment-setter uses this feature ...

Lucille Gomes, a maths teacher at St Cyprian's School in Cape Town, is Siyavula's top assignment-setter. So far this year, she has set 77 assignments. We caught up with her to find out more ...

By Deborah Torrington
on March 30 2020
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How to use assignments
How to use assignments

How to use assignments


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How do you use assignment-setting?

I use it every day for homework and revision, and then I set assignments for my learners as preparation for tests. About a week before a test, we tell learners what we’re going to test them on, and then I’ll set them an assignment that helps them prepare. Assignments really work for me: my learners value me selecting the content I want them to practise, rather than them simply using Siyavula Practice on their own.

Do your assignments count for marks?

Yes, as a department we set two Siyavula assignments in the first and third terms, and one assignment in the exam terms. These assignments count 10% towards our learners’ term marks. The assignments that I set for my classes for homework don’t count for marks.

How do you make sure learners complete their homework assignments?

I just bring up the assignment report on my data projector at the beginning of a lesson, and quickly run through the names to check that the assignment is complete. I don’t show their results; I only check that the homework has been done. My learners take it seriously; they don’t like seeing their names up there showing that they haven’t done their homework. It’s all about accountability, and having a quick and easy way of checking homework really helps with this.

Do you still use worksheets and textbooks for homework?

Yes, on occasion, but we do far fewer exercises from textbooks now.

How do you use the assignment reports?

Apart from checking for homework completion, I’ll look to see which questions learners struggled with most. Then I can just click on that question in the report, bring up an example on the projector, and then we’ll go through that in class. So I can quickly focus on what concepts learners need to revise.

I download the reports for the assignments that count towards term marks, and can then easily incorporate them into my mark sheets.

Next term, we’ll also be using these assignment reports to discuss learner progress with parents in our Parent/Teacher meetings.

What do your learners like most about assignments and Siyavula?

They like the fact that it’s structured and follows the curriculum. They like the immediate feedback and the fact that they don’t just get the answer, but also the whole solution and explanation of how to get to the answer. The best thing Siyavula ever did was to introduce the “Are you sure?” if learners get an answer wrong. Allowing learners to think about the answer again, and giving them a second chance to answer has made using Siyavula a much more positive experience.

What impact do you think Siyavula has on learners?

It gives them a more can-do attitude with regards to maths, so is a real confidence-booster. And it blends well with teenagers: the technology gives them the flexibility to work when and where they like.

If you’d like to follow Lucille’s approach to homework, using Siyavula’s assignments:

Learn and do

  • Set an assignment for homework based on what you’ve taught that day
  • Practice makes perfect!

Accountability

  • Bring up the assignment report in class to check that homework has been done

Revise and build

  • Use the assignment report to check what learners are struggling with
  • Bring up an actual question on your projector
  • Go through the question with your learners


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