Have you tried asking your students why they do not do their homework? It might be interesting to see their view on the matter.
I am very old school and consider home practice an important part of the process for students to learn, but I also try to be a realist an know that no matter what I do, some students do not do homework.
My homework policy is always evolving. This year I have a homework category and a classwork category. In Algebra 1 it is 7% for classwork and 8% for homework. In Algebra 2 it is 5% for each category. I decided not to take late homework this year and it has worked out fine. I just circulate up and down the rows looking at the homework while the students are working on their classwork warm up. If a student does not have their work I encourage them to try and do better tomorrow, at least do half of the assignment, 50% is better than zero. When we are going over and checking the homework I have the expectation that they will have their books open and be trying to work out some of the problems while the students are checking their work since they are still responsible for the learning. I also look at their work when I check it for points and point out things that I want them to look at and go over along with just asking them if they have any questions.
My main goal is to get them to practice a lot in class and also try to get them to practice at home. I think of it as the "rule of 3", kids have to practice something in class when it is introduced, home practice and then again in class to make it stick. Then throw in little reviews about 3 more times before testing.
I have found through trail and error that encouragement works better than punishment. Some kids have good intentions but for a variety of reasons that are beyond my control do not follow through and complete their homework. And of course, communication with parents is always important. I find that often the students that do not have good homework practice have parents that do not check on the parent internet gradebook to see if their students are completing their homework.
In many of our math courses, homework completion is tied to eligibility to retake a test. Students must have all of their homework completed by the original test day in order to be eligible to retake that test if needed. We (the high school) are going on our third year of homework not counting as points toward the grade. We want the grade to reflect math ability and not compliance.
With my lower level classes, where most wouldn't do their homework anyway, I have tried to incorporate the problems into the class like a warm-up, partner problem, or ticket in/out the door...something that doesn't take too much time away from the lesson or something that might lead into the lesson of the day. On occasion, I turn the homework into stations around the room, a review using the clickers, group problems done on individual white boards, or a game. As someone else stated, most students are willing to put forth the effort in class. Finding a way to make it seem like they are not "doing homework" seems to work best.
Another homework technique I heard from a teacher at my school is to give a group of problems like #5-30 and tell the students that they only have to complete the 4 easiest problems, and the 4 problems that are most difficult. (feel free to change the numbers), The students will think that they really only have to complete 8 problems. However, they end up completing them all because they work through them each problem to try and figure out which problems are the easiest and which problems are the most difficult. In addition, there is a lot of good math discussed when students explain why they thought a problem was easy or difficult.
Good one!!! I think I'll try one of these as the end of the year gets closer, and it gets more and more difficult to encourage students to complete their work!
In my class each homework or classwork assignment is worth 10 points. At least 7 of the 10 points comes from how much of the assignment the student made an honest attempt to do. The rest of the points is from correct answers to certain problems. Every 10 assignments is then grouped together to make a grade. I know that sometimes there will be one of those nights that it will be impossible to do the homework. So every day the student is physically in my class they earn 1 point. Thus, 10 days of being in class will take care of an assignment that was not done. This is one of the ways that I reward effort.