The new homework policy ushers in an approach to homework that is more mindful of students' needs for more balanced lives as well as more consistency across classrooms and schools.
This year, AUSD is introducing a new Homework Policy for grades K-12. The policy, which has been under development since 2017, is a result of stakeholder concern about the quantity of total homework and consistency across classrooms and school sites.
The new guidelines are reflected in an updated Administrative Regulation (AR), which details how Board Policies should be implemented.
A more balanced approach
The AR sets out the District’s and Board’s foundational values about homework, which include:
- Parents/guardians and teachers shall be mindful of the need for students to live balanced lives
- Homework shall have a positive impact on learning, achievement, student attitude, self-esteem, and healthy development of the whole student.
- No assignment shall be made which is punitive in nature.
- Loss of recess shall not be a consequence for lack of homework completion.
- Homework assigned should be appropriate to the student’s age and developmental level with regard to length of assignment and time available for completion.
- Accommodations or modifications specified in IEP/504 plans shall take precedence over any of the requirements/guidance stated in this policy.
They go on to define:
- The purpose and types of homework
- The maximum amount of homework time allowed
- Weekend and holiday assignment policies
- The need for training for teachers on designing and grading relevant homework assignments and grading
- Student, teacher, and parent/guardian roles and responsibilities in regards to homework assignments
The policy also requires teachers to notify students and families of homework expectations at the start of the year and sites to develop and regularly review a school-site homework plan.
“Board Policies and AR’s can sound technical,” says Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi, “but our hope is that this new approach will support our educators in developing more meaningful homework assignments, with more consistency across sites and classrooms and a deeper focus on student learning, well-being, and achievement.”
A five-year project
The Homework Workgroup was convened in 2017, and the first draft policy was presented to the Board in June 2018. In 2018-19, the Homework Workgroup solicited more stakeholder input and, based on that input, revised the draft. The Board approved the new Board Policy and Administrative Regulation (6154), as well as a template for site homework policies, (E6154) on June 26, 2019.
The approved policies were piloted in 2019-20, but full implementation was interrupted when schools moved into remote/distance learning in March 2020. Over the last eight months, staff and site administrators have continued to review and revise the policy and AR; last week staff also reviewed the new policy with site administrators.
“A homework policy can take a long time to develop, as it requires deep research into the kinds of homework that are most beneficial for students, consistent stakeholder engagement, and nuanced implementation strategies” says Dr. Vernon Walton, AUSD Director of Secondary Education. “We’re looking forward to seeing more pedagogically sound and compassionate homework practices rolled out this year.”