BY: Citizens Count
The Merrimack school district is trying something new. About 3 months ago, the district implemented a new protocol for student homework by no longer including homework as part of a student’s grade.
The new protocol does not mean that homework can't still be handed out for practice. Teachers will also still give students feedback on homework--but that feedback will no longer be counted towards a student's overall grade.
State rules for grading homework
The questions over how much homework is enough, at what age to start giving homework, and whether or not to grade homework, have been fiercely debated topics for many years.
There is currently no mandate by the New Hampshire Board of Education that requires homework to be factored into a student’s grade. This leaves the decision up to individual districts, schools or even teachers.
Policy sparks mixed reactions
Those in favor of eliminating homework from a student’s overall grade argue that just because a student turns in completed homework does not mean they comprehend it, or for that matter, even completed it by themselves. They believe there are better means by which students can demonstrate thinking and processing skills, and note that some students might receive more help at home with completing assignments than others, giving them an advantage that has nothing to do with how much they've learned.
Those who want homework to be graded say that teachers often adjust their classroom lessons based on student needs assessed from grading homework. Additionally, feedback students receive on their assignments help them to learn from their mistakes, as well as promoting accountability for the completion of assigned lessons. Some school board members in Merrimack, for example, expressed concern that students will simply feel they no longer have to bother doing homework, if it isn't graded.
Do you have an opinion on whether or not homework should be included in a student’s overall grade? We want to hear it! Weigh in below.