Thoughts on Graded Homework

There has been a lot of discussion within my school about grades, the value of homework, how much of a student’s grade should come from homework, etc.

This year I taught two sections each of two senior level classes (PreCalculus and Honors PreCalculus). As I have done for the past 7+ years, I do not collect or grade homework. (I also taught AP Statistics, but I teach that class in a very different way – more on that later.)
My students do a lot of journaling and reflections on their learning, meta-cognition, self-assessment, etc. For their end-of-year self-assessment, I asked them to write words of advice to next year’s students.
Of my 43 PreCalculus students, 36 emphasized the need to do homework: PC advice on homework
Of my 50 Honors PreCalculus students, 44 discussed homework: HPC advice on homework
The most frequent comment was the realization that homework helped them learn, and that they were responsible for their own learning.

I’m also not saying this will work in every classroom. These were all senior-level classes, which, in theory, should have a different maturity level. Also, my class is very unique for a variety of reasons. But, I really believe de-emphasizing points for homework. I will also mention this completely takes away any motivation a student has to cheat on their homework.

Now, I’m not foolish enough to believe that all these students did their homework daily (or, for some, even regularly). However, they have been able to reflect back and gain insight into what could/did help them. Hopefully, they carry that insight and self-awareness with them next year.

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