A high-school teacher in Iowa has adopted a hands-on teaching technique in her biology and human physiology classes in which students complete “quests,” rather than homework assignments.

Instead of setting deadlines for assignments, students are given quests that they must work on until they get 100%, with papers containing errors returned for corrections. Katie Bunce said the technique allows her to better understand how her students learn while removing much of the tension about grades. 

At the beginning of a school year, students used to worry about the points they needed to earn and what grade they had in the grade book, she said.

She sought to eliminate that tension and learn more about how well the students understood the material she taught.

Now, armed with ideas she learned during an education workshop a few months ago, Bunce has applied new practices to her classroom.

Instead of giving daily homework assignments to her advance placement students, she created a flow chart for each unit the class is studying. Within the unit are several quests that students can work on until they get 100 percent.

Bunce said she would rather have her students turn in quality work than turn in assignments by a deadline. If a student turns in a quest that’s not entirely accurate, the teacher sends it back with suggestions to help the student correct the errors.

“We have ongoing conversation,” Bunce said. “I feel like I have more knowledge of where my students are than I ever have before.”

Several biology students working in a lab on Wednesday agreed that they preferred the quests rather than daily homework assignments.

Continue Reading:  The Des Moines Register (Iowa)