Sample High School Homework Policy

Homework Policies

I have tried so many different things in my classes regarding homework and I have finally found strategies and policies that I am currently comfortable with. I am a strong believer in homework. I was always a good student myself when I was in high school, but I really only did my homework because it was expected of me and I didn't want to disappoint. It wasn't until I got to college, where homework was optional, that I finally understood how important it was to my understanding to get some practice with different concepts, mostly because at first I wasn't doing the assigned homework and therefore wasn't doing as well on tests :(

In my classroom I grade homework based solely on completion because I want it to be based on effort. Students can earn a check plus(100), check(80), check minus(60), or zero on each homework assignment. In order to earn a check plus students must have attempted every problem they were assigned. At the beginning of the year, I usually get a lot of flack about this because if a student doesn't do even one problem, they earn a check instead of a check plus and they don't agree with losing 20 points because of one problem. My answer to this is to ask them if they deserve a 100 if they didn't do the entire assignment and they usually agree that they don't. They usually still whine (which is when I just point to my "Be a winner, not a whiner" poster!! haha), but quickly learn that they must put effort into each problem.

My faaaaaaaaaavorite part of my homework policy is how I handle students that don't quite understand the assignment, but are still trying and therefore deserve a check plus (to me it really is all about the effort!). I explain to my students at the beginning of the year that their homework assignments are meant to help them learn and that I still want it to be of value even if they were struggling. If they don't understand a part or parts of their homework assignment I ask them to write a meaningful question  for each problem they struggled with (none of this "I didn't get it" or "I don't know" stuff is allowed...1) because those aren't questions and 2) because in order to help them "get it" I need to know what about "it" they don't get). This year I am going to use an idea I saw for smart questions on pinterest this summer.

I really really love this because it gets them thinking about what parts of the concept/topic they aren't understanding and serves as a reminder for them in class when we're going over the assignment what they were struggling with. Now during class, I (or one of their peers) can help to answer their questions as if I (or they) had been sitting next to them while they were doing their homework and doesn't make the assignment a complete waste for them. This also allows me to differentiate the true "I didn't get the homework" and the "I didn't get the homework" that really means "I didn't do my homework".

Other key pieces to my homework policy:
1) I do not allow homework to be handed in late. Immediately after checking their homework we go over it as a class. I explain to the kids that I'm not going to accept an assignment after they have just been given all of the answers during homework review. Sometimes this makes me feel bad for the students that would truly complete the assignment late, but I have yet to come up with a way to be able to tell who completes their assignment during homework review and who does it at a different time.

2) Once a student has missed three homework assignments in a quarter (consecutive or not) I contact home. I think this is so important because many times a parent isn't even aware that their child isn't completing their homework so I like to keep them in the loop and they are usually very grateful. I keep track of missing assignments by highlighting each missed assignment with a different color. The first zero is yellow, the second is orange, and the third is pink (my department members make fun of me because I'm so crazy about color coding things).


Assessment at Park High School is used to ensure students understand concepts and standards in a course. It allows teachers to adjust and ensure students are learning. Assessment is also a measurement of mastery of a subject’s outcomes.

To that end, staff will use varied assessment strategies on a frequent basis to provide consistent feedback to students, families, and the community.

Homework and motivation: It is understood that quality feedback on homework is more motivating for students than completion points (Stiggins 2006, Vatterott 2011). This means staff will provide consistent, quality, timely feedback on homework. This feedback may be for individual students or for the entire class.

Guiding Principles of Homework at Park High School

Homework assignments are intended to reinforce and extend learning initiated in the classroom and serve as a tool for teachers to assess student understanding of classroom instruction. Completion of routine homework can motivate students to develop good work habits while increasing the opportunity for individual initiative and responsibility. Homework can also stimulate creativity, critical thinking, and awareness that learning can take place outside of the classroom (Braintree Public Schools 2007, Vatterott 2011). The guidelines below indicate how students, parents, teachers, and administrators all have a responsibility for the success of homework.

Homework Guidelines for Students

  • Always do your best work
  • Record directions for homework in a planner
  • Understand assignments clearly before leaving class
  • Bring home materials to complete homework
  • Hand in assignments on time
  • Know what you are going to miss and still meet due dates for planned absences
  • Find out what you missed the day you return from an unplanned absence
  • Budget time properly for long-term assignments
  • Ask parents, peers, or teachers for help

Homework Guidelines for Parents

  • Provide a time and place for homework away from interruptions (phone, tablet, computer, television)
  • Actively monitor homework completion on Parent Portal
  • Contact teacher with questions/concerns

Homework Guidelines for Teachers

  • Be certain students clearly understand all homework assignments
  • Ensure Homework addresses class outcomes and standards
  • Provide timely, quality feedback
  • Communicate with parents when students fall behind on homework assignments
  • Assign no more than 30 minutes of homework per night per class (Cooper, H. 2014) Homework Guidelines for Administration
  • Publish, Promote, Support this homework/assessment policy
  • Provide support for teachers to implement policy with fidelity
  • Guide teachers on aligning assignments with course outcomes as necessary
  • Develop/promote homework incentive plans with teachers, students, and families

Guiding principles of assessment at Park High School

Formative Assessment: Work conducted when a student is still learning the material. It is an assessment that is designed to provide direction for both students and teachers. For the students, the adjustment may mean reviewing, additional practice, or confirmation that they are ready to move forward. For the teachers, it may mean changing instructional strategies, providing additional practice, or being ready to move forward. Examples include teacher observation, quizzes, rough drafts, peer editing, daily homework, or notebook checks.

Summative Assessment: Work conducted when a student has had adequate instruction and practice to be responsible for the material. It is designed to provide information to be used in making judgment about a student’s achievement at the end of instruction. Examples include final drafts, tests, exams, projects, labs, or performances.

  • Not more than 25% of a grade will consist of formative work (Vatterott, 2011).
  • It is understood homework and daily assignments are designed to promote learning.
  • Formative late work loses 10% and is not accepted after summative assessment has been completed.
  • Summative late work (papers, projects) loses 10% and will be accepted up to three days after due date. With teacher prior approval, work may be accepted beyond three days late.
  • Summative late work (tests, exams) may be made up before the end of the term with pre approval by teacher.
  • Not more than 3% of a course grade will consist of extra credit. Extra credit must be designed to support course concepts and standards.
  • Staff teaching alike classes must use the same summative assessments and collaborate to provide similar formative assessments if such assessments are to go into the grade book.

References

Braintree Public Schools. (2007). Homework policy (9-12). Retrieved from braintreeschools.org/homework/

Cooper, H. (2006). Duke study: Homework helps students succeed in school, as long as there isn’t too much.
          Duke Today. Retrieved from http://today.duke.edu/2006/03/homework.html

Crawford, L. (2014). Does homework really work?. Retrieved from:
          greatschools.org/students/students/homework-help/1983-what-research-says-about-homework

Highland Park Senior High School. (2014). Grading and Assessment Procedures. Retrieved from
http://highlandsr.spps.org/uploads/grading_and_assessment_procedures_201...

Marzano, R. J. (2006). Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work. Alexandria, VA: Association for
          Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Minnetonka Public Schools. (2014). Policy #626: Secondary Grading and Reporting Pupil Achievement. Retrieved from https://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/policies/626.pdf

Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. (n.d.). Formative and
          summative assessment. Retrieved from
https://www.azwestern.edu/academic_services/instruction/assessment/resou...

Stiggins, R. Et al. (2006). Classroom assessment for learning: Doing it right – Using it well. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Vatterott, C. (November 2011). “Making Homework Central to Learning” Educational Leadership, 69, 60-64.
          Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov11/vol69/num0...

Wilson, J.L. (2010). The impact of teacher assigned but not graded compared to teacher assigned and graded chemistry
          homework on the formative and summative chemistry assessment scores of 11th -grade students with varying chemistry potential. Retrieved from ERIC. (ED521905)

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