Homework Policy Sparks Frustration

Students and faculty take their stance on the updated policy

Emma Gray, Managing Editor

“We have a homework policy?” several members of the Superintendent Student Advisory Council asked in their most recent meeting, resulting in Meaghan Brill, principal, sending out an email requiring all faculty to make the policy visible in both classrooms and on Blackboard.

The homework policy, which was implemented last year, states that homework should not be assigned during any weekend or holiday.

“Assigning ‘classwork’ that takes longer than the 90 minute class period and then telling students that it now becomes homework over the weekend is a violation of the policy,” Brill said. “If you run into this situation, a simple solution is to offer class time to complete the assignment on Monday and/or making it due on Tuesday (if it must be completed at home).”

The policy also states that and it should not count for more than 10 percent of a student’s grade.

“School leaders and teachers discussed this over time and felt that 10 percent, as a target, was an appropriate percentage for homework to be factored into a student’s grade,” Major Warner, superintendent for instruction, said.

Brill sent an email to teachers reminding them that the policy pertains to every class including AP and honors.

Sharon Krasny, AP English teacher, believes this policy is difficult for AP classes. “If a student enrolls in an AP class, they are electing to take a rigorous course, requiring students to have more independent motivation to complete readings/work prior to coming to class in order to further the learning that goes on in class,” Krasny said. “The homework policy of not giving homework on the weekends is too stringent and encourages loopholes to be found by teachers trying to cover content for success in the course.  It is really hard to read a novel just during class time, for example, and students do need to put in the time to understand the ideas and themes in the story that help us see ourselves and our own biases/prejudices from a new angle.”

Chemistry teacher Julie Wendlberger said she was discouraged by the policy when it was introduced last year.

“I disagree with the policy for high school students, especially those choosing to take upper level courses,” Wendlberger said. “ Studies have shown that people forget half of what they hear within an hour and 70 percent within 24 hours.  Homework gives practice and reinforcement.  It is especially a bad practice to get college bound students used to minimal homework/study.”

Rachel Schwind, junior, feels strongly that homework should count for more than 10 percent for AP students.

“I feel like the homework policy enables students to avoid doing homework simply because they don’t want to,” Schwind said. “It allows them to still theoretically get an A in the class, while AP students still have the crazy course load and homework load, with harder tests, so homework grades, generally, can help grades improve.”

Kettle Run graduates feel the homework policy does a disservice to those students who are college bound. Austin Ball, class of 2014, said homework counts for 15 percent of his grade at Old Dominion University.

“Homework should be assigned on the weekend because that’s when I have the most time to get my assignments done,” Ball said, “so it’s good for high schoolers to know that just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean there’s not work to be done.”

Catie Harper, class of 2016, attends James Madison University. “In college your homework is counting for somewhere between 10-20 percent of your final grade,” Harper said. “As for homework over breaks and weekends, you’re going to have homework and projects in college all the time. Honestly, I like having homework over weekends and breaks compared to just during the week because it gives me more time to get it done.”

Stephanie Garrison, Class of 2013, attends George Mason University. “Homework is a significant part of your final grade and through my experiences at ODU, LFCC and GMU,” Garrison said. “I have found most classes declare homework between 10-20 percent. Homework is assigned on a weekly basis in most classes, regardless of a holiday. The colleges I’ve attended lean heavily on discussion board forums that are due every week.”

Catherine Schefer, Class of 2017, now attends the College of William and Mary. Schefer believes that a policy prohibiting students from having homework on the weekend is not helpful.

“I think that putting a policy in place that would not allow homework to be assigned over the weekend would really hinder students as they move forward into college,” Schefer said. “I don’t think it is an issue to assign work over weekends and breaks because it’s a reality that, in college, this happens frequently. It teaches students time management and how to balance their lifestyle with academics.”

Jarrod McGlotten, Kettle Run Class of 2011 and University of Virginia graduate, feels the no homework over the weekend policy does not prepare students for life after college.

“Having work to do on a weekend is pretty common in the working world,” McGlotten said, “so I don’t think having a rule against assigning such homework is beneficial for students.”

Major Warner, superintendent of instructions, believes all college experiences are different. “Students in Fauquier County are getting into colleges at high acceptance rates, and into some very prestigious institutions and graduating,” Warner said. “I believe that good students know how to prepare and student, and that 10 percent does not factor into determining the academic success of students collegiately.”

“This shift in mindset correlates strongly with our increased dialogue about equity and access in teaching and learning,” Warner said. “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.”

The policy is now posted on Blackboard on every homepage and a printed copy is displayed in every classroom.