Home / Policies / St Finbarr’s Policies / Homework Policy

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St Finbarr’s Homework Policy

Background

There has been extensive research into the value of homework. There is little consensus in the literature as to whether homework raises student achievement. “Most researchers conclude that for primary students, there is no evidence that homework lifts academic performance.” (NSW Dept. of Education and Communities Homework Policy 2012)

Homework activities appear to be most effective when linked directly to class activities so that homework is part of the learning process across home and school.

The findings indicated parents could influence the homework environment by creating positive conditions for learning and encouraging children to complete homework tasks. A positive result for homework appears to be contingent on teacher preparation and the setting of ‘real life’ tasks, the motivation of students and the level of parental support available.

Overall some homework is better than too much or none at all, however, the time on homework needs to be responsive to the student’s age and development. The research indicates that a ‘more homework the better’ view is misleading and should not be the basis for policy and practice.

Excessive homework may impact negatively on student achievement and also reduce student access to leisure activities that can also teach valuable life skills.

A survey of parents was conducted at St Finbarr’s regarding homework in 2009. 87.5% of the 80 respondents answered ‘yes’ to the question, Is homework necessary to you? With the remaining 12.5% either opposed to the practice or unsure. Parents highlighted reasons such as:

  • Consolidating learning
  • Offering parents an insight into their child’s learning at school
  • Developing sound habits

The most common concerns of those who answered ‘no’ included:

  • Enough formal learning takes place at school and children need time to play, relax and have fun
  • Children have many afterschool activities
  • Homework causes stress for the family

Research and case studies in the UK and US suggest there be no more than 10 minutes of homework per school day in Year 1, increasing by up to 10 minutes a day with each year level to a maximum of two hours per day in Year 12.

Rationale

According to the NSW Department of Education and Communities, the setting of homework and any indicative time allocations across year levels is not compulsory.

This Homework Policy takes into account some factors:

  • Community expectations about homework are variable.
  • Research regarding the value of homework is inconclusive.
  • Schools are best placed to make decisions about homework in consultation with their communities.

Research indicates that student learning may be enhanced if homework is:

  • Appropriate for each student’s age and ability
  • Relevant to each student’s needs
  • Purposeful and designed to meet specific learning goals
  • Varied and challenging, but achievable
  • Built on knowledge, skills and understanding developed in class
  • Clearly stated, and requirements made explicit during class time
  • Supported by teacher strategies for students having difficulties with homework

Homework tasks are assigned by teachers with a particular, clear learning purpose. On completion, teachers should acknowledge student effort and provide feedback related to student learning.

The quantity of homework needs to be manageable so that teachers can ensure quality, and can provide feedback to students on completion.

Homework that is manageable for students will:

  • Be age appropriate
  • Consider students’ outside of school hours commitments, such as sport, cultural activities, tuition and home responsibilities
  • Take into account students’ access to resources and technology beyond school
  • Be clearly communicated to students
  • Provide flexibility and options to allow for differing student circumstances

Excessive homework may impact negatively on student achievement and also reduce student access to leisure activities that can also teach valuable life skills.

There is some evidence to suggest that the following strategies may be particularly helpful:

  • Parental communication and involvement
  • Devising short, relevant tasks
  • Homework planners/diaries across a period
  • Teaching students self-monitoring techniques

Policy

Homework is part of the learning process at St Finbarr’s. It is valuable when undertaken in partnership between home and school and when it provides parents with an opportunity to be part of their child’s formal learning. Practices aim to accommodate a variety of family circumstances and the range of parent beliefs about homework.

Practices at St Finbarr’s

Teachers will set clear, meaningful and purposeful tasks each week that aim to support students’ classroom learning and provide parents with an opportunity to learn a little about their child’s education. Tasks are kept to age appropriate time frames and encourage parent involvement where parents are able.

Students will be provided with clear feedback on their home learning each week by their teacher. It is an expectation that all students will complete homework tasks. Opportunities may be furnished by the school for homework to be completed at school. There will be no negative consequences enacted if a child does not complete homework tasks.

Procedures

  1. Homework tasks will be connected to the learning in the classroom for that week, will be meaningful for the student and aim to contribute to student learning.
  2. The use of student diaries or planners will begin in Stage 3.
  3. Time guidelines will be adhered to for each student, considering his or her learning needs.
  4. Alternatives are provided for students who are without particular resources at home e.g. internet access or a computer.
  5. Opportunities are given at school for students who are unable to complete homework efficiently at home.
  6. Particular family circumstances are considered, and homework is perceived as a means of including parents in the learning process.
  7. Homework tasks are clearly outlined, concise and unambiguous.
  8. ‘Projects’ or assignments are not assigned for completion at home as a homework task or as an assessable task.
  9. Students are given feedback on their learning as well as given an opportunity to provide feedback to the teacher regarding their homework.

Age-specific Guidelines

Homework for Kindergarten and Stage 1

In general, students are not expected to complete regular homework in Kindergarten. Students will be given books to read at home, as appropriate, and for a period may practice some sight words.

In Kindergarten homework is 5 to 10 minutes a night, which includes reading and the reading sight words.

In Stage 1 some formal homework is set. For example, students might be asked to read and write, learn words for spelling and complete some mathematical activities.

In Years 1 and 2, Homework doesn’t exceed 5 minutes a night plus an additional 10 minutes reading.

Homework for Stages 2 and 3

Homework in Stages 2 and 3 varies, and students may be expected to work more independently. Students will be encouraged to read, practice spelling and practise mathematical concepts learnt at school. Occasionally they may be set small tasks from other areas of the curriculum.

In Stage 2 homework is 10 minutes a night plus 15 minutes reading.

In Stage 3 homework is 10 minutes a night plus 20 minutes reading.

In Stage 3 homework diaries are used.

From Years 1 to 6, homework may be flexible in its completion by students throughout a week.

Policy Review: 27 January 2018

Principal: Michael Cowley