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Northland Secondary School Homework Policy


1.  Background

NSS strives to produce motivated learners who are assets to the community.  In alignment to our Strategic Thrusts, we aim to leverage on the potential benefits of homework to improve students’ academic ability, study skills, disposition towards learning and life skills.

 The NSS Homework Policy provides a set of guidelines

·         for teachers to plan meaningful assignments;

·         for students to understand the expectations and

·         for parents to play a supportive role in guiding their children to complete the homework.


2.  
Definition of homework

Homework refers to any learning activity that students are required by the school to complete outside of curriculum time.  


3.  
Objectives of homework

The objectives of homework are to enable students to

(a)       consolidate learning & retain knowledge better

(b)       be more skillful in application of skills and concepts;

(c)       deepen their conceptual understanding;

(d)       develop good study habits and skills, such as time management; and

(e)       take greater ownership and responsibility for independent learning.

Judicious use of homework allows teachers to:

(a)       consolidate learning that has taken place in class;

(b)       check for students’ understanding and progress, so as to provide timely feedback, intervention and support; and

(c)       review effectiveness of lesson.

Homework also provides parents with

(a)       timely information on the learning progress of their child; and

(b)       opportunity to be involved in their child’s learning.


4.  Guidelines on Setting Homework

Design of homework

Homework given should be well designed to bring about the intended learning outcomes. It should

(a)       be interesting and purposeful;

(b)       involve active and thoughtful work;

(c)       be worth doing and related to class teaching;

(d)       be explicit and clearly defined so that students clearly understand what is required of them;

(e)       be within the students’ capabilities and developmental readiness;

(f)        involve the use of only material resources that are known to be readily available to students; and

(g)       be differentiated, where possible, to meet the different needs and abilities of students.

Frequency

In giving homework, teachers should take into consideration the following:

(a)       the amount of homework should be age-appropriate;

(b)       there is a point of diminishing returns to giving more homework and homework overload can have detrimental               effects on learning;

(c)      assignment of homework, if un-regulated and un-coordinated across subjects/departments, can lead to homework overload;

(d)      there are competing demands for students’ time (e.g. CCA, competitions, enrichment classes, tests, examinations); and

(e)      students need a balanced life, with adequate time for family bonding, social activities, personal interest(s) and sleep.

The time spent by students on homework during school week should not exceed 2 hours for lower secondary students and 2.5 hours for upper secondary students per day or 10 hours and 12.5 hours per week respectively. Homework given in each subject should only take between 30 to 45 minutes to complete.   

The school holidays and weekends are meant for students to take a break from formal learning and should therefore not be used excessively for homework. Hence, the daily homework load should not exceed 1 hours for lower secondary students and 1.25 hours for upper secondary students.  

Monitoring of Homework Load

Teachers will write the homework assigned on the whiteboard and students are responsible to note the homework assigned in their Student Handbook. Parents can refer to the Student Handbook if they wish to know the homework assigned to their child.   

Feedback to students

Timely feedback should be provided to students to ensure learning is maximized. It may be given in the form of grades, in prose or verbal feedback. Teachers may grade the homework assignments as part of continual assessment in the semester. Weighting of these assignments in the final results should be clearly written out in the task assignment worksheet given by the teacher and communicated to the students.

5.  Roles and responsibilities of stakeholders

Educators, parents and learners all play an important role in ensuring that homework serves its intended purposes.

School Leaders and Middle Managers are expected to

(a)       establish a school-wide policy and department policy on homework respectively;

(b)       communicate the school-wide policy and department policy on homework to staff, students and parents;

(c)       ensure that there is coordination across subjects/departments on the frequency and quantity of homework given;

(d)       monitor the implementation of the school homework policy and refine the  homework guidelines based on inputs obtained from various stakeholders; and

(e)       engage parents on homework matters and encourage parents to provide suitable home support and supervision for students’ learning.

Teachers are expected to

(a)       design appropriate and meaningful homework;

(b)       set realistic deadlines for submission of homework;

(c)       establish and communicate clear expectations to students on the purpose and procedure of homework;

(d)       coordinate with other teachers of the class on the frequency and quantity of homework to be given;

(e)       check homework and provide timely feedback to students;

(f)        provide timely intervention and support to students; and

(g)       engage parents on homework matters and provide them with information pertaining to students’ learning progress.

Students are expected to

(a)       understand the purpose of homework and what is expected of them;

(b)       keep track of homework instructions and deadlines;

(c)       manage time well to ensure that homework is completed and submitted on time;

(d)       give his / her best effort in completing homework; and

(e)       review feedback from teachers on homework submitted.

Parents are expected to:

(a)     create a home environment conducive for studying and completion of homework;

(b)     supervise and provide support for child’s learning;

(c)     reinforce good study habits and attitudes;

(d)     be mindful not to overload the child with out-of-school activities; and

(e)     work in partnership with teachers to support child’s learning and development.