Is it worth using homework answers in history?
There are effectively two answers to this question. If the student uses direct answers verbatim, that is cheating. If students use a source in their own words, that is acceptable. But there is still the question: “Is it worth it?” On this point, there are three aspects to look at.
- Research value
- Learning value
Part of learning, is researching. Researching means that they have to expend time and effort to learn something new. Without that experience the student will gain little from their work. If a source gives information that has to extracted for what they need, then they will learn. This is why textbooks and good resource sites do not give direct answers. They cover the answer with useable information. In this way the student will have to extract valuable information from the data presented.
Which leads us to the learning value. The learning value is the value based on the amount of effort needed to gain the information. The amount of effort is directly tied to that which builds long-term and pressure learning. Pressure learning is the learning that is developed for pulling information under pressure, like a test. If the answer requires little effort to gain, it will not be remembered, and thus not learned.
The benefit of this information is only developed if the student has to work for it. Homework answers should not be quick and easy, however though it needs to be readily there. Often an answer is not just one point, but many points leading to one conclusion. It needs to be made known that this is the case. As the student grows, they will learn to look for more than one answer.
In college and in Universities, it is the same as with grade and high school. The student needs to work for their answer. By this time when they are in high school and above, they should be able to tell if an answer is one or more things by reading the information.
In effect it is worth using homework answers as long as they are presented in appropriate way. The student will be able to learn from well-constructed answer sources. Directing students to these sources would help them in learning history. As well as develop an understanding how history effects today. Learning how things tie in together in the past, would show them how they still tie in together today.