Statement of Problem
McAuliffe administration and staff recognize that homework is a necessary part of a student’s educational experience. Teachers must be able to assess, through homework, a student’s understanding of information presented in class. Further, we believe that consistent completion of homework assignments enhances a student’s learning experience and helps to build and support executive functioning skills required for success at both the middle and high school levels and beyond.
At the same time, we recognize that homework may be a source of significant stress for some students and their families. We also recognize that the amount of homework a school gives is often used as a misplaced measure of academic rigor. And we know that students and parents may be viewed negatively when homework assignments are not completed, without regard for the unique challenges middle school students may face when learning the range of executive functioning skills required to complete, organize and return homework to school on time, each and every day.
Bridging the Gap – McAuliffe’s Response
The faculty and administration of McAuliffe Middle School recognize that a different approach to the homework dilemma is required. Beginning in the fall of the 2014-2015 school year, our team leaders and members of the school administration met to discuss and create an action plan designed to review issues related to homework. Our goal was to create a set of procedures that respect the needs of the students and families we serve, while honoring the effectiveness of homework in guiding instruction, and building executive functioning skills.
Our process was thorough and involved an exhaustive review of current studies regarding homework, surveys of students, parents and teachers, as well as a review of homework policies from schools across the United States. From this process, we learned that the issue of homework plagues schools across the country. We found that many schools may have had homework policies, but most had no formal procedure for managing homework, aside from penalizing students for lack of completion. We believe that addressing this issue will help us better meet the needs of our students and families, and may also serve as a model that other schools may choose to emulate.
Please review this document carefully, as the policies and procedures outlined reflect our beliefs and honor our school community. We welcome your questions and comments!