In our department, we teach outcomes, not chapters or units, but outcomes. Some districts call them targets. In any case, we broke our Algebra 1 course into about 36 outcomes (I broke all my courses into about 36 outcomes). Interesting, there are about 36 weeks in a school year. When all goes well, I teach an outcome in about 4 days (Monday - Thursday) give or take. Fridays have been reserved to take a look back and see what an individual students didn't quite get the first time. I allow students to re-take another version of a test they have previously failed. I call those days "Flashback Fridays".
Back to the homework part. Monday - Thursday I do not assign specific problems for the students to do. They are to determine what they need to work on. A student will look at the online grading program and see that he needs more work in, let's say, outcome 4 - Solving Linear Equations. On Monday - Thursday evenings the students does the prescribed set of problems for that particular outcome and hands it in on Friday in order to take the reassessment.
That was my plan. Here's what really happened. Students did nothing in the evenings of M - Th, came to class, grabbed a lap-top, waited 10 minutes until the laptop logged in, looked at the online grading program, decided which outcome to do, completed the prescribed problems, and the bell rang. The reassessment wasn't taken and the student waits until next week to take the test. *sigh*.
My new plan:
Flashback Fridays: Students start class by taking a test (on the outcome of their choice and only after handing in the prescribed problems for that outcome). Next they log-in to the online grading program and pick the next outcome(s) to work on. They fill out a reassessment plan for the next Flashback Friday (click here to see that) and hand this in by the end of the period. Now I have a hard copy in their handwriting of what they decided to work on.
Monday - Thursday evenings: Students complete the prescribed problems for the outcome(s) they picked, hand in their work first thing on Flashback Friday, and we repeat this process.
Of course I'm still going to have students not do their homework. In an effort to keep them honest, I'm going to create 4 outcomes (1 for each quarter) based on homework. I noticed that once homework was only to learn and not for a grade, the students stopped doing it. I guess I need to make it for a grade again.