Creating a Homework Policy With Meaning and Purpose

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We have all had time-consuming, monotonous, meaningless homework assigned to us at some point in our life. These assignments often lead to frustration and boredom and students learn virtually nothing from them. Teachers and schools must reevaluate how and why they assign homework to their students. Any assigned homework should have a purpose.

Assigning homework with a purpose means that through completing the assignment, the student will be able to obtain new knowledge, a new skill, or have a new experience that they may not otherwise have. Homework should not consist of a rudimentary task that is being assigned simply for the sake of assigning something. Homework should be meaningful. It should be viewed as an opportunity to allow students to make real-life connections to the content that they are learning in the classroom. It should be given only as an opportunity to help increase their content knowledge in an area.

Differentiate Learning for All Students

Furthermore, teachers can utilize homework as an opportunity to differentiate learning for all students. Homework should rarely be given with a blanket "one size fits all" approach. Homework provides teachers with a significant opportunity to meet each student where they are and truly extend learning. A teacher can give their higher-level students more challenging assignments while also filling gaps for those students who may have fallen behind. Teachers who use homework as an opportunity to differentiate we not only see increased growth in their students, but they will also find they have more time in class to dedicate to whole group instruction .

See Student Participation Increase

Creating authentic and differentiated homework assignments can take more time for teachers to put together. As often is the case, extra effort is rewarded. Teachers who assign meaningful, differentiated, connected homework assignments not only see student participation increase, they also see an increase in student engagement. These rewards are worth the extra investment in time needed to construct these types of assignments.

Schools must recognize the value in this approach. They should provide their teachers with professional development that gives them the tools to be successful in transitioning to assign homework that is differentiated with meaning and purpose. A school's homework policy should reflect this philosophy; ultimately guiding teachers to give their students reasonable, meaningful, purposeful homework assignments.

Sample School Homework Policy

Homework is defined as the time students spend outside the classroom in assigned learning activities. Anywhere Schools believes the purpose of homework should be to practice, reinforce, or apply acquired skills and knowledge. We also believe as research supports that moderate assignments completed and done well are more effective than lengthy or difficult ones done poorly.

Homework serves to develop regular study skills and the ability to complete assignments independently. Anywhere Schools further believes completing homework is the responsibility of the student, and as students mature they are more able to work independently. Therefore, parents play a supportive role in monitoring completion of assignments, encouraging students’ efforts and providing a conducive environment for learning.

Individualized Instruction

Homework is an opportunity for teachers to provide individualized instruction geared specifically to an individual student. Anywhere Schools embraces the idea that each student is different and as such, each student has their own individual needs. We see homework as an opportunity to tailor lessons specifically for an individual student meeting them where they are and bringing them to where we want them to be. 

Homework contributes toward building responsibility, self-discipline, and lifelong learning habits. It is the intention of the Anywhere School staff to assign relevant, challenging, meaningful, and purposeful homework assignments that reinforce classroom learning objectives. Homework should provide students with the opportunity to apply and extend the information they have learned complete unfinished class assignments, and develop independence.

The actual time required to complete assignments will vary with each student’s study habits, academic skills, and selected course load. If your child is spending an inordinate amount of time doing homework, you should contact your child’s teachers.

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  • Exploring the Value of Whole Group Instruction in the Classroom

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How to Write the Perfect Homework Policy

Author: Naimish Gohil

Posted: 10 May 2017

Estimated time to read: 4 mins

Homework is an integral part to the learning process and as such, each school should have a clear homework policy readily available to teachers, students and parents that sets out your expectations when it comes to home-learning .

how to write the perfect homework policy

A clear and effective homework policy will mean that quality and quantity of homework can be easily tracked and all stakeholders are on the same page. We've created our own Homework Policy that you can adapt for use in your school or use as an outline when creating your own policy:

1‭. ‬Introduction

This is the school’s policy for the provision of homework to pupils and has been drawn up in accordance with guidance from the DFE and Sutton Education Trust‭.‬ It must be recognised that parents play a vital role in the education of their child‭, ‬therefore it is important and valuable to‭ ‬have a good home-school partnership‭, ‬of which a homework policy must address‭.‬

2‭. ‬Homework‭ - ‬A definition

Homework is defined as any work or activity that students are asked to undertake outside of lesson time‭, ‬either on their own or‭ ‬with the aid of parents and carers‭. ‬Homework doesn’t necessarily have to be completed at home but can be completed in free periods and after-school homework clubs‭. ‬We see work completed outside of lesson time as a valuable part of a student’s learning‭.‬

3‭. ‬The purpose of homework‭ ‬

The school regards the purpose of homework as being to‭:‬

  • ‭ Provide learners with the opportunity to work on an activity that is relevant to learning outcomes‭, ‬or that contributes to gaining qualifications/accreditations‭.‬
  • Develop an effective partnership between the school‭, ‬parents and carers in pursuing the academic aims of the school and the development of their child‭.‬
  • Consolidate and reinforce skills and understanding prior to the following lesson‭, ‬particularly in English and Mathematics‭.‬
  • Extend learning across the curriculum‭, ‬for example through additional reading‭.‬
  • Encourage pupils as they get older to develop the confidence‭, ‬self-discipline and independence to develop organisational skills‭.‬

As a school‭, ‬we encourage children to pursue out-of-school activities‭. ‬Homework should be used to effectively reinforce and/or extend what is learned in school‭. ‬We hope that children will feel a sense of personal satisfaction in a task completed well and that their efforts will be recognised and praised both at home and at school‭. ‬

Homework tasks should be undertaken to the best of‭ ‬their ability‭. ‬We hope that parents and carers will be willing and able to give their active support to ensure that work completed at home is done so conscientiously and in the best possible conditions‭.‬

4‭. ‬Current practice‭ ‬

At the beginning of the academic year‭, ‬each year group will be informed about what is expected of them with regards to homework‭.‬

5‭. ‬Time to be spent completing homework

Based on current good practice‭, ‬we ask pupils to spend the following amount of time on homework‭:‬

Years 7‭ ‬to 9‭:                   ‬1‭ - ‬2‭ ‬hours per day

Years 10‭ ‬&‭ ‬11‭:                ‬1‭ - ‬3‭ ‬hours per day‭ ‬

Pupils may be expected to undertake a variety of homework activities‭. ‬These activities will differ depending on the teacher and‭ ‬subject‭. ‬Examples include‭: ‬Reading tasks‭, ‬numeracy tests‭, ‬spelling tests‭, ‬quizzes‭, ‬project work‭, ‬classwork extensions‭, ‬coursework‭, ‬essays and research activities‭.‬ As a general rule‭, ‬teachers will not usually set substantial homework tasks to be completed for the next day‭, ‬pupils will have at least two days to complete any work set‭.‬

6‭. ‬Pupil feedback

The school recognises the importance of providing prompt and actionable feedback to pupils‭, ‬parents and carers‭. ‬Feedback will include how well homework tasks have been tackled‭, ‬and the knowledge‭, ‬skills and understanding developed‭.

‬A variety of methods will be used to provide feedback‭, ‬such as an appropriate comment of praise‭, ‬appreciation or area for improvement‭. ‬Any given feedback will vary according to the age of the pupil‭.‬

7‭. ‬Where to access the school homework policy

The school will use newsletters to inform parents and carers about the school’s homework policy and secure their involvement‭. ‬The homework policy‭, ‬as well as useful information for parents in supporting their child’s learning‭, ‬is displayed on the school website‭. ‬

Parents’‭ ‬Evenings and New Intake Evenings will be used to promote this partnership and obtain feedback‭ (‬e.g‭. ‬English and Mathematics workshops‭). ‬Homework questionnaires will be used where appropriate to ascertain parent views‭. ‬Parents will be consulted about any significant changes to the policy that are being considered by the governing body‭.‬

8‭. ‬Reviewing the policy

The homework policy will be reviewed every year‭. ‬Where significant changes to the policy are felt to be required‭, ‬proposals will‭ ‬be presented to the governing body and parents consulted‭.‬

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What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.

Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.

The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.

However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).

For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).

There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”

In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :

  • How long will it take to complete?
  • Have all learners been considered?
  • Will an assignment encourage future success?
  • Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
  • Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).

Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.

Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.

Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.

Parents Play a Key Role

Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.

But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.

Homework Policy Still Going Strong

  • Posted January 15, 2014
  • By Lory Hough

Illustration by Jessica Esch

It's become one of those stories that has legs. Two years after we ran a feature story on whether schools should assign homework, we're still receiving letters to the editor and new tweets. On the Ed. site, the story has consistently been one of the most shared.

" Are You Down With or Done With Homework ?" featured Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., who got rid of nightly homework in exchange for nightly reading and longer projects. At the time, Brant was just a few months into the homework change. Since the story in Ed. continues to spark so much interest among readers, we asked Brant if the policy was still in place, how it was going, and whether she had been approached by other media.

"Absolutely," she says, noting that The Washington Post , Family magazine, msn living, and The Huffington Post contacted her, as did several principals and school boards, asking if they could visit the school.

And the policy continues. "What's changed is the culture and community that we created," she says. "We've really built a culture of reading, at school and at home." Of course, some parents, especially new parents, still ask questions. "They ask, 'My child isn't doing math homework?' And I get it. I'm a parent, too."

But now, instead of reassuring them with talk of what she hopes will happen, she can tell them what has happened — students are making progress.

"The majority of our kids don't go to preschool. Now, since the policy, the majority of them leave kindergarten reading," she says. "At the end of the last school year, we looked at every student who started reading below grade level. Every one of them has risen at least 1.2 levels in growth. We've also had kids who grew 10 and 11 grade levels in one year."

Brant has made it easy for kids to embrace the new reading culture. Not only does she give them the time at home to read by not assigning other homework, but she also makes books readily available: Around school, there are book baskets in the halls. During the summer, in her gray Acura RDX, she becomes a one-woman bookmobile, driving around the city twice a week, giving out free books to kids — some donated, many that she paid for herself.

It's exactly what Brant wanted when she changed the homework policy. "Reading here has become the norm," she says. "My hope when I started this was to make reading a habit. Students who read become adults who read."

Are You Down With or Done With Homework?

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Neag School of Education

How to use homework to support student success.

  • by: Sandra Chafouleas
  • January 13, 2022
  • Community Engagement

Female teacher wearing mask helps young student.

Editor’s Note: Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Sandra Chafouleas shares insights on supporting students’ homework during the pandemic in the following piece, which originally appeared  in Psychology Today , where she publishes a blog.

COVID has brought many changes in education. What does it mean for homework?

School assignments that a student is expected to do outside of the regular school day—that’s homework. The general guideline is 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level beginning after kindergarten. This amounts to just a few minutes for younger elementary students to up to 2 hours for high school students.

The guidance seems straightforward enough, so why is homework such a controversial topic? School disruptions, including extended periods of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, have magnified the controversies yet also have provided an opportunity to rethink the purpose and value of homework.

Debates about the value of homework center around two primary issues: amount and inequity.

First, the amount of assigned homework may be much more than the recommended guidelines. Families report their children are stressed out over the time spent doing homework. Too much homework can challenge well-being given the restricted time available for sleep, exercise, and social connection. In a 2015 study , for example, parents reported their early elementary children received almost three times the recommended guidelines. In high school, researchers found an average of three hours of homework per night for students living in economically privileged communities.

“ Debates about the value of homework center around two primary issues: amount and inequity.”

Second, homework can perpetuate inequities. Students attending school in less economically privileged communities may receive little to no homework, or have difficulty completing it due to limited access to needed technology. This can translate into fewer opportunities to learn and may contribute to gaps in achievement.

There isn’t a ton of research on the effects of homework, and available studies certainly do not provide a simple answer. For example, a 2006 synthesis of studies suggested a positive influence between homework completion and academic achievement for middle and high school students. Supporters also point out that homework offers additional opportunities to engage in learning and that it can foster independent learning habits such as planning and a sense of responsibility. A more recent study involving 13-year-old students in Spain found higher test scores for those who were regularly assigned homework in math and science, with an optimal time around one hour—which is roughly aligned with recommendations. However, the researchers noted that ability to independently do the work, student effort, and prior achievement were more important contributors than time spent.

Opponents of homework maintain that the academic benefit does not outweigh the toll on well-being. Researchers have observed student stress, physical health problems, and lack of life balance, especially when the time spent goes over the recommended guidelines. In a survey of adolescents , over half reported the amount and type of homework they received to be a primary source of stress in their lives. In addition, vast differences exist in access and availability of supports, such as internet connection, adult assistance, or even a place to call home, as 1.5 million children experience homelessness in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic has re-energized discussion about homework practices, with the goal to advance recommendations about how, when, and with whom it can be best used. Here’s a summary of key strategies:

Strategies for Educators

Make sure the tasks are meaningful and matched..

First, the motto “ quality over quantity ” can guide decisions about homework. Homework is not busy-work, and instead should get students excited about learning. Emphasize activities that facilitate choice and interest to extend learning, like choose your own reading adventure or math games. Second, each student should be able to complete homework independently with success. Think about Goldilocks: To be effective, assignments should be just right for each learner. One example of how do this efficiently is through online learning platforms that can efficiently adjust to skill level and can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

Ensure access to resources for task completion.

One step toward equity is to ensure access to necessary resources such as time, space, and materials. Teach students about preparing for homework success, allocating classroom time to model and practice good study habits such as setting up their physical environment, time management, and chunking tasks. Engage in conversations with students and families to problem-solve challenges When needed, connect students with homework supports available through after-school clubs, other community supports, or even within a dedicated block during the school day.

Be open to revisiting homework policies and practices.

The days of penalizing students for not completing homework should be long gone. Homework is a tool for practicing content and learning self-management. With that in mind, provide opportunities for students to communicate needs, and respond by revising assignments or allowing them to turn in on alternative dates. Engage in adult professional learning about high-quality homework , from value (Should I assign this task?) to evaluation (How should this be graded? Did that homework assignment result in expected outcomes?). Monitor how things are going by looking at completion rates and by asking students for their feedback. Be willing to adapt the homework schedule or expectations based on what is learned.

Strategies for Families

Understand how to be a good helper..

When designed appropriately, students should be able to complete homework with independence. Limit homework wars by working to be a good helper. Hovering, micromanaging, or doing homework for them may be easiest in the moment but does not help build their independence. Be a good helper by asking guiding questions, providing hints, or checking for understanding. Focus your assistance on setting up structures for homework success, like space and time.

Use homework as a tool for communication.

Use homework as a vehicle to foster family-school communication. Families can use homework as an opportunity to open conversations about specific assignments or classes, peer relationships, or even sleep quality that may be impacting student success. For younger students, using a daily or weekly home-school notebook or planner can be one way to share information. For older students, help them practice communicating their needs and provide support as needed.

Make sure to balance wellness.

Like adults, children need a healthy work-life balance. Positive social connection and engagement in pleasurable activities are important core principles to foster well-being . Monitor the load of homework and other structured activities to make sure there is time in the daily routine for play. Play can mean different things to different children: getting outside, reading for pleasure, and yes, even gaming. Just try to ensure that activities include a mix of health-focused activities such as physical movement or mindfulness downtime.


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Advice on Creating Homework Policies

Getting students to work on their homework assignments is not always a simple task. Teachers need to take the initiative to create homework policies that encourage students to work hard to improve their achievement in the classroom setting. Educational leadership starts with making a policy that helps students learn and achieve while competing with extracurricular activities and the interests of students.

Set high standards

Homework policies need to have high standards to encourage students to work hard on achieving the best possible results. Student achievement in school improves when teachers set high standards and tell students that they are expected to meet the standards set in the classroom.

By setting high standards for the homework policy, teachers are ensuring that the students will be more willing to work on getting assignments done. The policies for homework that teachers and parents create can help improve student understanding of materials and result in better grades and scores on standardized tests.

Focus on study skills

Teaching students in their early education is a complicated task. Teachers need to balance the age of the students with the expected school, state and federal educational standards. Although the temptation to create a homework policy that focuses on repetition and traditional assignments can make the policy easy to create, it also removes the focus from establishing strong study skills and habits to engage students in education.

Creating a homework policy for younger students in the elementary grades should avoid traditional assignments and focus on building study skills and encouraging learning. Older students after elementary school are ready to take on written assignments rather than using technology and other tools.

Putting more focus on study skills will set a stronger foundation for homework in the future. As students get into higher grades, the type of assignments will focus on writing with a pen or pencil. The age of the student must be considered and the goal is to create a strong foundation for the future.

Involve the parents

Getting parents involved in the homework policy will encourage students to study and complete the assigned tasks. Asking parents to get involved to facilitate assignments will ensure students are learning without the parents completing the assignment for their child.

The goal of involving the parents in the homework policy is getting the family to take an interest in ensuring the assignments are completed. The best assignments will allow the student to manage the work without seeking answers from a parent. That allows parents to supervise and encourage their child without giving the answers.

Give consequences for incomplete assignments

Homework is an important part of providing educational leadership in the classroom. Although parental involvement and high standards can help encourage students to study, it is also important to clearly state the consequences if assignments are incomplete or not turned in on time.

A clear homework policy will lay out the possible consequences of avoiding assignments or turning in incomplete work. Consequences can vary based on the student grade level and age, but can include lowering the grades on a report card or taking away classroom privileges.

Although it is important to provide details about the consequences of avoiding the assignments, teachers can also use a reward system to motivate students to complete their work. Rewards can focus on the entire class or on individual rewards, depending on the situation. For example, teachers can give a small candy when students complete five assignments in a row.

Consequences and rewards can serve as a motivating factor when it comes to the homework policy. By clearly stating the potential downsides and the benefits to the student, it is easier for students to focus on the work.

Creating homework policies is part of educational leadership in the classroom. Although homework must focus on helping students achieve, it also needs to clearly state the expectations and give details about the benefits and consequences of different actions. By giving a clear policy from the first day of school, the students will know what to expect and can gain motivation to work on achieving the best results.

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the key homework policy

The power of a good homework policy

Published 18th March 2019 by Frog Education

With the homework debate continuing to rage and be fuelled by all parties involved, could publishing a robust homework policy help take some of the headache out of home learning?

What is a homework policy.

The idea of a homework policy is for the school to officially document and communicate their process for homework. The policy should outline what is expected of teachers when setting homework and from students in completing home learning tasks. It is a constructive document through which the school can communicate to parents, teachers, governors and students the learning objectives for homework.

Do schools have to have a homework policy?

It is a common misconception that schools are required by the government to set homework. Historically the government provided guidelines on the amount of time students should spend on home learning. This was withdrawn in 2012 and autonomy was handed to headteachers and school leaders to determine what and how much homework is set. Therefore, schools are not required by Ofsted or the DfE to have a homework policy in place.

The removal of official guidelines, however, does not give pupils the freedom to decide if they complete homework or not. Damian Hinds , Education Secretary, clarified that although schools are not obliged to set homework, when they do, children need to complete it in line with their school’s homework policy; “we trust individual school head teachers to decide what their policy on homework will be, and what happens if pupils don’t do what’s set.”

The majority of primary and secondary schools do set homework. Regardless of the different views on the topic, the schools that do incorporate homework into their learning processes, must see value in it.

Clearly communicating that value will demonstrate clarity and create alliance for everyone involved – both in and outside of school. This is where the publication of a good homework policy can help. 5 Benefits of publishing a good homework policy

#1 Manages students' workload

Studies have shown a correlation between student anxiety and demanding amounts of homework. One study found that in more affluent areas, school children are spending three hours per evening on homework. This is excessive. Secondary school students’ study between eight and ten subjects, which means they will have day-to-day contact with a number of teachers. If there is no clear homework policy to provide a guide, it would be feasible for an excessive amount of homework to be set.

A homework policy that sets out the expected amount of time students should spend on homework will help prevent an overload. This makes it more realistic for children to complete homework tasks and minimise the detrimental effect it could have on family time, out-of-school activities or students’ overall health and well-being.

#2 Creates opportunity for feedback and review

The simple act of having an official document in place will instigate opportunities for regular reviews. We often consider the impact of homework on students but teachers are also working out-of-hours and often work overtime . One reason is the need to set quality homework tasks, mark them and provide valuable feedback. No-one, therefore, wants home learning to become about setting homework for homework’s sake.

A regular review of the policy will invite feedback which the school can use to make appropriate changes and ensure the policy is working for both teachers and students, and serves the school’s homework learning objectives.

#3 Connects parents with education

Parents’ engagement in children’s education has a beneficial impact on a child’s success in school. Homework provides a great way for parents to become involved and have visibility of learning topics, offer support where needed and understand their child’s progress.

A good homework policy creates transparency for parents. It helps them to understand the value the school places on homework and what the learning objectives are. If parents understand this, it will help set a foundation for them to be engaged in their child’s education.

#4 Gives students a routine and creates good habits

Whether children are going into the workplace or furthering their education at university, many aspects of a student’s future life will require, at times, work to be completed outside of traditional 9-5 hours as well as independently. This is expected at university (students do not research and write essays in the lecture theatre or their seminars) and will perhaps become more important in the future workplace with the growth of the gig economy (freelancing) and the rise of remote working .

A homework policy encourages a consistency for out-of-school learning and helps students develop productive working practices and habits for continued learning and independent working.

#5 Helps students retain information they have learned

A carefully considered and well-constructed home learning policy will help teachers set homework that is most effective for reinforcing what has been taught.

A good homework policy will indicate how to set productive homework tasks and should limit the risk of less effective homework being set, such as just finishing-off work from a lesson and repetition or memorisation tasks. What makes a good homework policy?

A good homework policy will determine how much homework is appropriate and what type is most effective for achieving a school’s learning objectives. Publishing the homework policy – although it might not unify everyone’s views on the matter – fosters good communication across the school, sets out expectations for teachers and pupils, and makes that significant connection between parents and their children’s education. But most importantly, if the policy is regularly reviewed and evaluated, it can ensure home learning remains beneficial to pupils’ progress, is of value to teachers and, ultimately, is worth the time and effort that everyone puts into it.

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