Establishing a Math Homework Policy

When establishing a homework policy. it is important to create one that is fair and consistent for the students, and, at the same time, realistic for the busy teacher. Student lateness and absence can make it difficult to enforce a homework policy, especially in a class period of 35 to 40 minutes.

Writing HomeworkI use a homework and preparedness policy that works very well.  I never penalize a student for being absent. However, I will deduct points if a student fails to make up missed assignments.

Each marking period, all students start out with a test score of 100 for homework and preparedness. Points are deducted as follows:

checkmark-blue.gif  -5 for each missed assignment

checkmark-blue.gif  -3 for each late assignment

checkmark-blue.gif  -2 each time the student is unprepared

I use a clipboard with a copy of the class list to track students’ scores. Absent students are given back a full 5 points once assignments have been made up. If a student does not have the assignment in class when it is due, 5 points are deducted; 2 points are given back when the student shows me the assignment (at lunch or after school). Points for being unprepared are deducted when a student fails to bring his/her pencils, notebook, and textbook to class. As a general rule, students may not show me missed or late assignments during class. There simply is not enough time.  I have them come after school or at lunch to show me the assignments.

This policy may seem elaborate, but it is actually quite effective. Students are motivated to make up missed work in order to get points back. It teaches them to be responsible. There is only one drawback: If you do not give many tests during the marking period, the homework score may have too heavy a weight on the student’s grade. In most cases, this will inflate the student’s grade.

Going over homework assignments is just as important as having a system for grading it.  If you don’t go over the assignment at all, students will think homework is unimportant, regardless of your policy. As a math teacher, I like to emphasize that some mistakes on homework are okay, as long as you learn from them. Each day, I go around the room checking that homework was completed, marking missed assignments on my clipboard. Next, I go over the answers with the class in one of the following ways depending on the assignment. (Each student is responsible for checking and correcting his/her own homework paper.)

checkmark-blue.gif  Aloud in a round-robin fashion

checkmark-blue.gif  Aloud through teacher dictation

checkmark-blue.gif  By distribution of a small answer sheet to each student

checkmark-blue.gif  At the chalkboard, with students’ oral participation

checkmark-blue.gif  At the chalkboard, with students writing out the solutions

checkmark-blue.gif  In cooperative learning groups

checkmark-blue.gif  On the overhead projector, with students’ participation

checkmark-blue.gif  By collecting and grading students’ assignments

The important thing here is to go over the assignment somehow. By the second marking period, I am able to check the assignment for completion AND go over the answers in 5 to 7 minutes. (Of course, there are exceptions to this.) To demonstrate the importance of homework, from time to time I place a homework problem on a quiz or a test.

Generally, I assign homework every day. Some states forbid the assignment of homework on certain religious holidays. Check with your school administrator for more information.

Whatever homework policy you devise, remember to create something that is realistic and enforceable. Also keep in mind that your time in and out of the classroom is valuable. Take the time to spell out your policy to students at the beginning of the school year. You may even want to send your policy home to parents in a letter -but have a colleague or administrator review it first.

The Benefits of a Homework Policy

Homework is a ubiquitous aspect of education, yet its effectiveness and impact can vary greatly depending on how it’s structured and enforced. A well-defined homework policy serves as a crucial framework that not only guides students in their learning journey but also supports teachers in delivering effective instruction and fosters collaboration with parents. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of a homework policy for students, teachers, and parents, highlighting how it contributes to academic success and promotes a positive learning environment.

Benefits for Students

Reinforcement of Learning – Homework assignments provide students with opportunities to practice and reinforce concepts learned in class. By engaging with the material outside of school hours, students can solidify their understanding and mastery of key concepts, leading to improved academic performance.

Development of Responsibility and Time Management Skills – A structured homework policy teaches students important life skills such as responsibility and time management. By adhering to deadlines and managing their workload effectively, students learn valuable skills that are essential for success in school and beyond.Win Win For Teachers

Personalized Learning Opportunities – A well-designed homework policy allows for differentiation, catering to students’ individual needs and learning styles. Through tailored assignments, students can engage with material at their own pace and level, fostering a deeper understanding of the content.

Communication with Teachers – Homework assignments provide students with opportunities to seek clarification and support from their teachers. By engaging in the homework process, students can identify areas of difficulty and communicate their needs, facilitating a collaborative learning environment.

Benefits for Teachers

Assessment of Student Understanding – Homework assignments serve as valuable formative assessments for teachers, allowing them to gauge students’ understanding of the material outside of the classroom. By reviewing homework submissions, teachers can identify areas of weakness and adjust their instructional strategies accordingly.

Differentiation and Personalization – A homework policy that allows for differentiation enables teachers to tailor assignments to meet the diverse needs of their students. By providing varied and challenging tasks, teachers can accommodate different learning styles and abilities, promoting inclusivity and equity in the classroom.

Communication with Parents – Homework assignments serve as a means of communication between teachers and parents, providing insights into students’ academic progress and areas for improvement. By sharing information about homework expectations and performance, teachers can foster collaboration with parents in supporting students’ learning at home.

Reinforcement of Classroom Learning – Homework assignments reinforce and extend learning beyond the classroom, allowing students to apply and practice skills independently. By assigning meaningful and relevant tasks, teachers can reinforce classroom instruction and promote deeper understanding of the material.

Benefits for Parents

Involvement in Children’s Education – A homework policy encourages parental involvement in children’s education by providing opportunities for parents to support and monitor their children’s learning at home. By reviewing homework assignments and providing assistance when needed, parents can actively engage in their children’s academic journey.

Insight into Children’s Progress – Homework assignments offer parents insights into their children’s academic progress and areas of strength and weakness. By reviewing completed assignments and communicating with teachers, parents can gain a better understanding of their children’s learning needs and provide targeted support.

Collaboration with Teachers – A well-defined homework policy facilitates communication and collaboration between parents and teachers, fostering a supportive learning environment. By working together to support students’ homework efforts, parents and teachers can ensure consistency and alignment between home and school expectations.

Promotion of Responsibility and Independence – Homework assignments promote responsibility and independence in students, encouraging them to take ownership of their learning. By supporting students in completing homework tasks and encouraging self-directed learning, parents can foster important skills that contribute to academic success and lifelong learning.