The Great Homework Debate Finally Ends

How a new homework policy will affect students through the year

Fauquier county has altered the amount of homework by annexing weekend hours, limiting weekday homework, and by setting a 10 percent maximum on homework for an individual’s overall grade.

According to a Stanford University study, 56 percent of students associate homework as the primary source of stress. With that data in mind, the school board has developed a new homework policy.

The sole purpose is to allow students to feel less overwhelmed with busy work and for teachers to create new ways to present lessons and class criteria in an effective way.

Superintendent Dr. David Jeck stated that assigning homework has never been mandatory.

“One of the goals for changing the regulation is to convey to teachers and administrators that homework should be a means to an end that is valuable,” said Jeck. “If students and parents don’t see any value to the homework we assign, then we are basically wasting their time – time that can be better spent together with family.”

Jeck stresses the importance of establishing and implementing student feedback, which according to some students, further amendments might need to be made to the new policy.

Although most students see the value in changing aspects of the homework policy, not every student feels it helps when it comes to final grades. Due to the fact that homework only accounts for 10 percent of a grade, students who rely on their out of school work to keep test scores at a minimum, feel as though they have to ignore the homework that they do get, and only focus on the next test.

“I enjoy the homework policy. It lets me have a break over the weekend to catch up on something I might not have finished during the week,” said senior Alex LaFleur, who is in between opinions. “I do wish it [my homework] counted more. If there is going to be less of it, shouldn’t it count for more?”

Unlike LaFleur, senior Andrew Pickett is very passionate when it comes the homework policy and his grades.

“I do not like the homework policy, as it takes away an easy grade given to us students for completing our homework,” said Pickett. “I had classes that would be 15- 20 percent homework grades and it helped me out a lot. I would leave it up to the teacher’s discretion on how he or she would like to grade homework.”

David Kuzma say that the policy hasn’t changed how they run their classes.

“Though the policy has changed, my classes have been affected very little,” Kuzma said. “I have used homework to evaluate reading comprehension and organizational skills. I am sure that the majority of students are pleased that homework may be limited. However, college bound students may likely suffer with the reality of expectations in college. Also, without the ability to cover certain aspects outside the classroom, students will likely see the in-class rigor increase. I graduated from high school in 1990 and the majority of my teachers were at the end of their careers. Therefore, most of my instruction resembled the 1960’s. I would have been thrilled to have less homework.”

Associate Superintendent for Instruction Major Warner explains why he feels the change is necessary.

“This shift in mindset correlates strongly with our increased dialogue about equity and access in teaching and learning,” said Warner. “This regulation encompasses both the value that we put in homework and the flexibility schools need to work with families to limit the impact when time and resources are a concern.”