ENDORSED: 01/17/07]
REVISED: 07/30/10


Homework plays a useful role in learning when it is included as an integral part of a well-planned lesson or unit of study, targeted to specific learning outcomes or objectives. It is the quality of the assigned work and its integration into the instructional process that gives it meaning.

I. Nightly Homework

A. Nightly homework reinforces learning and should fulfill one or more of the following purposes:

  • Provide independent practice related to skills or concepts taught that day (or recently) in order to promote retention. Example: practice problems in math
  • Prepare the student to better access curriculum to be taught the next day (or soon) through questions that recall knowledge or skills previously taught. Example: practice with adjectives before learning modifying clauses
  • Build background through content reading to be better prepared for instruction the next day. Example: reading textbook passages
  • Establish systematic routines for the incremental development of basic skills. Example: practice with spelling words.
  • Prepare for assessment through review or studying.

B. Students should be able to complete homework independently. The role of the parent should be primarily to encourage the student and reinforce expectations of effort. Modifications/accommodations identified on a student plan (IEP, SST, etc.) for classroom instruction are also appropriate for homework.

C. The quantity of homework does not imply academic rigor. Assignments should require an amount of time appropriate to the student’s age, and sensitive to personal and family obligations beyond school. Homework should allow time for play, relaxation, and sufficient sleep. Appropriate guidelines are:

K – 2 10 - 20 minutes

3 – 5 30 – 50 minutes

6 – 8 60 – 80 minutes

9 – 12 90 – 120 minutes

These represent total nightly homework time. It is important, particularly for secondary teachers, to remember that their class is generally one of four or more.

D. Nightly homework should be considered a formative assessment of learning.

II. Long-term Homework

A. Long-term homework facilitates project-based learning and should fulfill one or more of the following purposes:

  • Allow students to explore topics in greater depth and complexity. Example: building a working model.
  • Practice integration of process skills like writing, research, technology, etc. Example: a research paper
  • Demonstrate learning through production of original and/or creative products or performances. Example: a documentary film.

B. Project-based assignments must be sensitive to the varying quantity and quality of resources that are available to students outside of school. These include:

  • Availability of an adult mentor/support
  • Access to information resources and to technology
  • Ability to acquire resources: tools, materials, etc.

C. Significant projects/products done over time should be considered a summative assessment of learning. Therefore, it is critical that grading criteria be well established and clearly communicated at the time of the assignment. Examples of appropriate assessment practice to shape successful performance may include one or more of the following:

  • Benchmarks with feedback (and scoring) on component parts
  • A clear rubric and/or scoring guide
  • Exemplars for students to use as models