# Homework Guidelines

## Definition

Homework refers to assignments that students are expected to complete outside of the class period. This does not include long-term projects or assignments. This includes reading assignments, problem sets, papers, or studying for tests, quizzes, and other assessments.

## Rationale

The Howard County Public School System supports students in maintaining and extending their learning. The appropriate design, use, and evaluation of homework assignments, used to inform progress and provide opportunities for independent practice, are part of achieving that goal. Some courses or instructors may choose not to assign homework.

## Features of Homework

**Purposeful:**Students understand why they are completing homework. Homework is grounded in and expands upon skills and knowledge students have learned in the classroom.**Appropriate:**Homework should be designed so that all students can experience success in independent completion of assignments. Accommodations will be provided as outlined in students’ IEPs and Section 504 Plans.**Informational:**Homework is one tool schools have available to them that allows parents to be included in their child’s day-to-day school experiences.**Flexible:**Assignments can be successfully completed with resources that are readily available within timeframes that have flexible deadlines when possible.

## Homework will incorporate the following criteria:

### All Grades

- Each school year, schools will communicate the school’s homework procedures with all stakeholders.
- Students, parents, and teachers should communicate about scheduled and actual homework completion times to ensure realistic expectations for the completion of assignments.
- Homework will be planned so students see the relationship of their homework to intended learning targets, see meaning in their assignments, have a clear understanding of the procedures and due dates, understand how their homework is evaluated, and understand how they can use feedback on homework to improve understanding. Teaching staff will ensure that students understand the purpose of assignments and how they connect to classroom learning.
- Teachers are legally required to ensure that homework is accommodated/modified as necessary in accordance with students’ IEPs and Section 504 Plans. Classwork and homework accommodations must be provided per students’ IEPs and Section 504 Plans. Students should not be penalized for failure to complete classwork or homework when accommodations are not provided. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) best practices should be used when assigning homework.
- Teachers will provide feedback on homework assignments.
- Students may have more than one teacher. Therefore, teams of teachers will discuss homework activities and projects in order to follow grade level homework duration guidelines. Canvas tools will be made available as one option to help teachers coordinate major projects and exams. Teachers will be understanding of student circumstances and should tailor homework assignments with flexible due dates when possible so that students can complete homework tasks throughout the week based on their individual schedules.
- Students must be given a non-electronic option for homework completion and submission. Assignments cannot be due beyond regular school hours or be required to be submitted electronically. While electronic submission can be utilized it cannot be required.
- Homework assignments may not be assigned or due on a day schools are closed due to inclement weather or unplanned closures.
- Homework may not be assigned over the summer for any courses, nor winter or spring breaks for middle or high school courses.
- A student may make up and receive a recorded grade for homework not completed due to the observance of a religious holiday. Students returning from a religious holiday observance will have an equal number of school days to complete make-up work.
- Reading lists and additional resources will be available during the breaks, as well as throughout the school year, as a service to students who want an opportunity to improve reading and mathematics skills. Families will be provided with access to resources to supplement reading and mathematics instruction for students.

### Grades Pre-K – 2

**Amount of Homework:**No more than 20 minutes of homework per night will be assigned. In Pre-K and Kindergarten there will be no assignments that must be submitted to the teacher.**Purpose of Homework:**Homework provides practice opportunities for skill development.- Families are encouraged to read to or with their children nightly.
- Families are encouraged to practice grade appropriate math facts or related activities on a nightly basis.
- Teaching staff will be provided with opportunities to meet as teams to schedule assignments so that students do not regularly have more than 20 minutes of homework each night

### Grades 3 – 5

**Amount of Homework:**No more than 30 minutes required per night in grade 3; 40 minutes in grade 4; and 50 minutes in grade 5.**Purpose of Homework:**Homework reflects daily instruction, reinforces previously taught skills, prepares students for future lessons, and/or promotes creativity.- Teaching staff will be provided with opportunities to meet as teams to schedule assignments so that students do not regularly have more than 30 minutes of homework required per night in grade 3; 40 minutes in grade 4; and 50 minutes in grade.

### Grades 6 – 8

**Amount of Homework:**For the purposes of determining number of hours of homework per week or day, teachers should include reading of course material, studying of course material, and practicing skills taught in course (e.g., rehearsing a musical instrument). Time spent on long-term projects should also be included when determining number of hours of homework; however, these projects do not constitute homework for grading purposes. Each instructor may assign an average of, at most, one hour of homework per week. Not all classes will require homework. Some classes might require students to spend more or less time on homework than is typical.**Purpose of Homework:**Homework assignments will reinforce curriculum through tasks that contribute to learning and understanding. These 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.- Teaching staff will be provided with opportunities to meet as teams to schedule assignments so that students do not regularly have more than one hour of homework each week per instructor. It is recommended that the school principal or designee work with teaching staff to facilitate this collaboration.

### Grades 9 – 12

**Amount of Homework:**For the purposes of determining number of hours of homework per week or day, teachers should include reading of course material, studying of course material, and practicing skills taught in course (e.g., rehearsing a musical instrument). Time spent on long-term projects should also be included when determining number of hours of homework; however, these projects do not constitute homework for grading purposes. Each instructor may assign an average of, at most, one and a half hours of homework per week. Not all classes will require homework. Some classes might require students to spend more or less time on homework than is typical.- An upper limit of seven to fourteen hours of homework a week is suggested for each high school student. Some classes might require students to spend more or less time on homework than is typical.
**Purpose of Homework:**Homework reflects daily instruction, reinforces previously taught skills, prepares students for future lessons, and/or promotes creativity.**Expectations of Homework:**The goals and expectations for homework will be clear and include opportunities for student input. As appropriate, flexibility and student choice will be considered in the assignment of homework duration, rigor, product, and weight in grading. A syllabus is recommended for distribution at the beginning of every semester outlining each course’s requirements, including regular assignments, projects, possible due dates, and procedures for requesting feedback on assignments.