HOMEWORK POLICY

Yacolt Primary School

Homework/Extra Work Guidelines

Grades K-4

Goal Statement:  Establish homework guidelines based on research as well as input from parent surveys; provide consistency Kindergarten - Fourth Grade at Yacolt Primary.     

Battle Ground School Board Policy No. 2422 (homework) notes that, “The board believes that homework is a constructive tool in the teaching/learning process when geared to the needs and abilities of students.  Purposeful assignments not only enhance student achievement but also develop self-discipline and associated good working habits.”  The policy also notes that, “The school principal shall establish guidelines which clarify the nature and use of homework assignments to improve school achievement.”  Based on the board policy and input from teachers, building administrators, parent surveys (June 2009, June 2011 & June 2012), and research on homework, the following are homework guidelines for Yacolt Primary School.  These guidelines are a work in progress with periodic revisions.

Input from the 2009 and 2011 parent surveys (questions on homework) as well as general comments on the 2012 survey, have been very helpful in the initial homework policy as well as revisions.  In general, parents value having children do some work at home – either it being homework or extra work.  However, family time in our community is very important and coupled with children having a long bus ride to and from school, parents would like to see a minimal amount of work from school.  Parents are okay with monitoring a limited amount of homework, but take exception to teaching and/or doing the homework.  Parents do like to have children read at home.

A review of the research on homework, notes that there is very little correlation with student learning and homework. Harris Cooper writes in his book, The Battle Over Homework:  Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers and Parents, “Elementary school students get no academic benefit from homework – except reading and some basic skills practice – and yet schools require more than ever.”  Alfie Kohn, The Homework Myth, 2006 notes that, “The research provides no evidence that homework provides any benefit in elementary school.” 

In the spring of 2009, Dr. Cathy Vatterott, a well respected researcher and author on homework, spoke with district administrators as well as to the staff at a Battle Ground school in regards to homework.  She notes, “Perhaps it would be wise to question some of our more prevalent beliefs about homework – homework teaches responsibility; lots of homework is a sign of a rigorous curriculum; good students do their homework.  Dr. Vatterott further states “It is important to reflect on what we believe about homework and those beliefs influence what we do in our classrooms.  As we plan curriculum, hopefully we will use homework to support and evaluate learning, not to make moralistic judgments about children.”

Other researchers have noted the importance in the quality of the homework task.  There should be a clear academic purpose – no busy work!  The ultimate goal of the assignment – pre-learning, checking for understanding, practice or processing – should be easily understood by the student (Marzano, et. al., 2001).  Quality tasks are doable – they help students feel positive about themselves as learners (Darling-Hammond and Ifill-Lynch, 2006; Sagor, 2002).  Homework that cannot be done without help is not good homework and is demotivating to students (Vatterott).  In fact, when students feel unsuccessful approaching homework tasks, they often avoid the tasks completely as a way to protect their self-esteem (Past, 2006).  Homework should be designed to give students choices and opportunities to personalize their work (Tomlinson, 2003; Vatterott, 2007). 

Students can benefit from spending extra time outside of the school day by reading (this includes a child reading to a parent or sibling and someone reading to the child), practicing basic math skills or reviewing spelling words. 

There is a difference between “homework” and “extra work.”  Homework is defined as work for all students in a class whereas extra work is for a specific student.  There are times when a parent/guardian requests additional work from a teacher.  The child might have challenges in their learning, or even excelling in certain subject areas.  Teachers will collaborate with parents to provide the extra work.  If extra work is provided, it is the parent/guardian responsibility to make sure work is completed in a timely manner.   

In summary, the focus at Yacolt Primary is children doing academic work at school and family time is honored after school hours.  Any work at home (homework or extra work) should be brief and enjoyable.  One of the most positive impacts on student learning is having children read at home.     

“Teachers and administrators need to put forth solid effort to help teachers determine how to assess student learning and how to know when learning has occurred.  Rethinking the deeper purpose of homework and adopting policies that reflect that purpose are healthy first steps.” 

Cathy Vatterott, Making Homework Central to Learning, Educational Leadership,      November 2011

At Yacolt Primary, homework is optional and not considered part of the academic grade.  Also, completion of homework/extra work is not to be punitive or rewarded.

Homework/Extra Work Guidelines are specific to Yacolt Primary.  These guidelines are written by the principal and assistant principal.  Adopted September 30, 2009.   Revisions on September 19, 2011 and August 29, 2012




School Information

Principal
David Kennedy

Assistant Principal
Lynnell Tsugawa-Muray

Address
406 W Yacolt Road
Yacolt, WA 98675

Phone
(360) 885-6000

Fax
(360) 885-6010

Student Hours
M-F
9:10 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.

Attendance
(360) 885-6015