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” At the time, I could not exactly relate to him because I was one of the kids who knew how to “do” school well and actually enjoyed it.All that changed after the publication of “A Nation At Risk” – when our schools began to be seen as failing and the homework levels increased.We recently had the homework discussion at my school, after listening to feedback from parents.
Homework is assigned either to reinforce and/or practice skills that have been learned or taught throughout the school day, or to complete task and/or projects that were begun in class.
Homework can also be used to build background knowledge and introduce a skill/concept to be used in future lessons.
The high school feels the pressure to give excessive homework to enable students to pass the Advanced Placement tests and to do well on college entrance exams.
Universities see students who are “unprepared” to do the critical thinking necessary to be successful because, sadly, they were given too much rote work at the high school level and below.
After the dire “A Nation At Risk” warnings, the emphasis was on drill and kill in the 80s and 90s.
This prepared the way for the piling on of homework as supplemental test prep after the passage of No Child Left Behind in the early 2000s and its even greater emphasis on rote learning.
Homework is often a perfect opportunity to differentiate and to usher in success for all. The weekday guidelines for homework are based on grade level.
Additional time would be expected of high school level courses and music classes.
The effects of all these conflicting goals roll downhill to educators at the middle and elementary school levels.
Although I am thrilled with the recent trend in elementary schools (which tend to be the most progressive level of education) – eliminating homework in response to research – I don’t see this moving up through the grade levels any time soon.