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Homework Guidelines

In order to ensure that each student meets or exceeds rigorous performance and achievement standards, Howard County public schools must assist students in maintaining and extending their learning. The appropriate design, use, and evaluation of regular homework assignments are all integral pieces needed to achieve that goal.

Rationale

Throughout all grades, teachers will provide homework which is engaging and varied that meets the needs of the individual learner as well as the subject matter. Homework can assist students in reinforcing previously taught skills, in exploring and extending knowledge, in preparing students for future lessons, in challenging and inspiring independent learning, and in exploring new talents and skills. It must be useful, responsive, engaging, varied, and challenging. Homework is the most valuable tool schools have available to them that allows parents to be included in their child’s day-to-day school experiences, and enables students to take into their home environment that which is taught at school. Parents can follow students’ learning activities through monitoring their homework. Therefore, all Howard County schools will develop and implement a set of comprehensive homework guidelines based upon countywide criteria as well as on the needs of that school’s community.

Homework guidelines will incorporate the following criteria:

All Grades

  • Individual schools will need to provide information to parents on the school’s, team’s, and teacher’s homework guidelines, the student’s homework responsibilities, and how parents can help monitor, assist, and discuss homework. Each school will communicate this information clearly to parents at the beginning of every school year.
  • Teachers will check homework, provide feedback on homework, and return it to the students in a timely manner.
  • Homework should be planned so that students see the relationship of their homework to classwork, see meaning in their assignments, have a clear understanding of the procedures and due dates, and understand how their homework is evaluated.
  • Each school will develop clear guidelines for dealing with late or missing homework, as well as determine the percentage of grades that can be derived from homework assignments.
  • Homework will be differentiated to meet the needs of individual students and curricula.
  • Homework may be reviewed or evaluated as part of class activities, however, class time should not be used for the completion of homework.
  • Homework patterns should change to help prepare students for the transition to the types and amount of homework they will receive as they move from elementary school to middle school to high school.
  • Because all students may not have ready access to electronic communications outside their school building, no assignments are to be given to students electronically when schools are not in session, including during emergency closings. In addition, students are not to be required to submit previously assigned work electronically if the due dates occur during emergency closings.

Grades K – 5

  • Approximately one to five hours of homework a week are suggested for each elementary school student. Homework assignments usually reinforce previously taught skills, and may prepare students for future lessons, promote creativity, and/or be a reflection on the student’s day at school.
  • County and state mandated testing are legitimate reasons for modifying homework assignments.
  • Elementary school students may have more than one teacher. Therefore, teams of teachers need to coordinate activities and projects so that reasonable amounts of homework are given across subjects each night, and so that opportunities for integrating subjects are maximized.
  • There will be no mandatory homework given over the summer. Any work assigned over the summer will be voluntary and non-graded enrichment activities.

Grades 6 – 8

  • Approximately five to ten hours of homework a week are suggested for each middle school student. Homework assignments may reinforce previously taught skills, prepare students for future lessons, extend learning, promote creativity, and/or be a reflection on the student’s day at school.
  • County and state mandated testing are legitimate reasons for modifying homework assignments.
  • Middle school students have more than one teacher. Therefore, teams of teachers need to coordinate activities and projects so that reasonable amounts of homework are given across subjects each night, and so that opportunities for integrating subjects are maximized.
  • There will be no mandatory homework given over the summer. Any work assigned over the summer will be voluntary and non-graded enrichment activities.

Grades 9 – 12

  • Approximately seven to fifteen hours of homework a week is suggested for each high school student recognizing that some classes might require them to spend more or less time on homework than is typical. Homework assignments may reinforce previously taught skills, prepare students for future lessons, extend learning, promote creativity, and/or be a reflection on the student’s day at school.
  • County and state mandated testing, and exam weeks are legitimate reasons for modifying homework assignments.
  • A syllabus is recommended for distribution at the beginning of every semester outlining each course’s requirements; including homework assignments, projects, possible due dates, and procedures for requesting feedback on assignments.
  • High school students have more than one teacher. Therefore, teams of teachers need to coordinate activities and projects so that reasonable amounts of homework are given across subjects each night, and so that opportunities for integrating subjects are maximized.
  • There will be no mandatory homework given over the summer. Any work assigned over the summer will be voluntary and non-graded enrichment activities. Reading lists will be available during the summer, as well as throughout the school year, as a service to students who want an opportunity to work ahead.