Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Sarah van Ingen Lauer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert F. Dedrick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eugenia Vomvoridi-Ivanovic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.


embedded case study, homework effort, interleaving, student beliefs


There has been discussion for many years about how much homework teachers give or whether they ought to give it at all. Some studies have shown that homework has a positive effect on high school students’ learning as measured by achievement tests or course grades. Additionally, there is an increasing interest among educators, policy makers, and researchers to identify instruction that can raise achievement levels and promote equity.

This study used an exploratory embedded comparative case design. The case study approach was used to explore students’ overall experiences with interleaved homework in high school mathematics classes. The subunits for this case study included students in two classroom settings, from two different levels of algebra mathematics courses, taught by two different teachers. I selected three students from a remedial Algebra 1 course and three students from an Honors Algebra 2 course. The participants from each class were selected based on the results of a student questionnaire that was administered before the interleaved homework intervention. After a baseline phase of blocked homework assignments, interleaved assignments were incorporated in the classroom and the following forms of data were collected for analysis: homework documents, student questionnaires, a cumulative test, and semi-structured interviews.

To gain insight into the high school students’ experience with interleaved homework, I used Dettmer et al.’s (2011) framework to focus the study. The framework accounts for student perceptions and emotions while completing homework, and how those affect achievement. Findings in this study revealed unique experiences for each participant and helped to identify the diversity of potential experiences. The key findings that emerged from analyzing the students’ experiences with interleaved homework across subunits were: student effort, the culture of the classroom, the social aspect of homework, students’ past experiences with mathematics and homework, and student concerns about receiving homework in general. Across the subunits, most participants articulated the benefits of interleaved homework assignments and indicated they would not be opposed to interleaving homework if they were exposed to the assignments at the beginning of the school year. This study provides evidence of the different experiences students can have with interleaved homework. The findings provide a qualitative look at how students themselves feel about homework, interleaved homework and mathematics—insights that are not easily captured with only quantitative surveys or achievement data.