Homework Think Tank Findings

Homework Think Tank Findings
Posted on 08/20/2019

New Homework Recommendations for UFRSD - 2019-2020

Good Afternoon, UFRSD!

As many of you know, we have had extensive conversations about homework. We started this conversation for two reasons: 1) We were looking to find some educationally sound practices that were aligned with best practices for grading and assessment. 2) We wanted to continue our districts efforts focusing on wellness. 

    As a district, we conducted:

  • Meetings with the Think Tank - reps from all schools.

  • Multiple meetings with parent groups.

  • After-school conversations at each school.

  • Research to see what other schools were doing. 

  • Research to understand "Best Practices" in education.

At the end of the year, we came up with four recommendations for the entire district that we are asking everyone to follow. Each of the questions listed below were our focus questions throughout the year.

  • How much should homework count toward a grade?

Homework, class discussion, class participation, etc.. (combined) should count no more than 10% of the final grade. Anywhere in the range of 0% to 10% is acceptable.

  • What makes homework purposeful?

Purposeful homework is practice that supports the learning that takes place within the classroom. When assigning homework ask yourself, "Is it meaningful? Purposeful? Supporting what we did within the classroom?"

  • What does "too much" or "too little" homework mean?

 The usual educational philosophy mentions 10 minutes per grade level. The Think Tank talked about this, and we definitely realize that in the older grades (different teachers for each content area) this is challenging to monitor and regulate. However, we did come up with some recommendations:

  1. We believe that homework does have a purpose; however, there is NO requirement to assign homework on a daily basis. Nightly homework may have a purposeful place within your class, which is absolutely fine. If, however, you are assigning homework, because you believe you must, please know that you don't have to. It's OK not to assign homework every night. In fact, research suggests that assigning homework that isn't relevant or purposeful, may have negative effects on motivation and drive.

  2. IF you have common planning time, please talk about projects, tests, major assignments, etc... to see if there is any overlap that can be avoided.

  3. Finally, be mindful that students are getting assigned homework in other classes. The main conversational piece of the Think Tank was focused on quantity vs. quality...i.e. Could 10 problems be equally as beneficial as 30 problems?

  • Homework Free weekends were fully supported by the Think Tank.

Homework free weekends are meant to be NO WORK weekends. We ask everyone to follow this guideline AND the spirit of it as well. Assigning a major project to be due the Tuesday after a no homework weekend, doesn't necessarily follow the spirit of it. Remember, this is an initiative to support the wellness of our kids.

The 2019-2020 WORK-FREE Weekends:

  • Friday, October 11 through Monday, October 14

  • Wednesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 1

  • Friday, February 14 through Monday, February 17

  • Friday, May 15 through, Sunday, May 17

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

My best,

Mark Guterl

Superintendent of Schools