Homework at NHS in Need of Makeover
By James Hunter
At Novato High School, it is common for many students to receive hours of homework, but does it really help? Many believe that some homework is completely worthless while others believe it really enhances learning. Some people properly finish all homework on time, while others resort to not doing it at all.
Although practice problems and projects might create additional work to be done at home, many teachers assign homework every single night on a fixed schedule. This raises the question of whether it really is better than only assigning homework when a teacher needs to.
Jason Searle, Novato High School’s AP European History teacher, described his opinions on homework.
“In an AP class, homework is necessary because there’s no way you can cover everything in the class that you’re going to see on the test,” Searle said. “The thing about it is, though, if you are an AP student, you have to realize that you are taking a college level class so you’re more personally responsible for homework. Then again, a lot of the AP teachers don’t weigh homework heavily in your grade and it is more assessment-based, which is fair because the AP exam is also assessment-based.”
Although it is apparent that some homework can help students to learn, many, including myself, question the need for a premeditated schedule of homework that often has little to do with the previous day’s work. This approach to assigning homework often takes up hours of time that can be used to study for things more important, such as tests or projects.
Scheduled homework assignments simply take up time and usually lack substance. In math classes, it is common for 10, 20, or 30 assigned problems of very similar construction to be homework and it is a large part of a student’s grade. Some students pass or fail the class because of it. Practice problems should be optional or at least not affect letter grades for students who would like to practice more and better themselves.
Eric Avina, a junior at Novato High School, explained his opinion on nightly homework.
“I think that homework should be given only on nights when it is needed; a regimented schedule for everyday homework is worthless because you have six other classes that you have to worry about,” said Avina.
Consequently, this nightly homework often gets pushed aside and forgotten because students have four, five, or even six other classes to worry about and 20 problems of math isn’t a priority. So, instead of ruining the grades of hard-working students, this kind of homework shouldn’t be graded, and instead should be something that students complete when they need extra help or want practice. Putting extra stress on students or making them do something over and over when they may already understand it is redundant and frustrating.
Cassidy Newman, a Novato High School sophomore, doesn’t like how homework is graded.
“I think that [homework] can benefit us because it can help us to understand the subject we are learning more, but it can seriously hurt our grades because many kids have no time to do it,” Newman said. “This makes it so many students just don’t do it, and that seriously affects our grades in a negative way and it absolutely shouldn’t.”
The simple fix to this issue is to not grade this type of homework. Teachers can make it so students can go to the set schedule and do homework when they need the practice, instead of making them repeat the same steps over and over when they have other assignments and responsibilities piling up.
If this were to happen, it would help students build their self sufficiency. Instead of writing random answers to get the credit, students will do homework when they need to do it in order to better themselves in the class. If a student does absolutely no homework, then they might not do as well in the class. This self-sufficiency teaches students how to live in the real world on a basis where people do what they need to do when they need to do it.
This should be a no brainer for any school that wants to prepare a student for college, as in college professors aren’t going to hunt you down to get assignments done. They are going to allow you to do what you need to do when you need to do it to get a good grade on the final, which is often a large part of a student’s grade. Since college is such a goal of many students, homework should be tailored to preparing students for the future.
Homework should only be given when it is needed, in the form of a project, paper, or a short worksheet, not long, tedious problems that cause unnecessary stress.