Homework Task Force: OCSA’s Newest Initiative

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Quinn Summerville, Journalist

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At the December 10th School Advisory Council hearing, Assistant Principal Conners announced an initiative to investigate multiple complaints of excessive homework assigned to middle school students.

The initiative, which Mr. Conners dubbed the “Homework Task Force”, started because of consistent complaints from parents of middle school students, who were concerned that there was an unfair amount of homework assigned.

“Right now we’re just collecting information, but the reason we started the Task Force was that we had quite a few emails and phone calls from parents about their kids, especially young kids in middle school, getting hours and hours and hours of homework,” Mr. Conners told the Ledger.  “So we started with a survey of teachers, to see what teachers would self-report as their homework practices. It was a really basic survey, we’ll probably do some more in-depth things later on, but it was basically, ‘do you give homework regularly, how long do you anticipate assignments you give will usually take, what are your grading practices on your homework, does it count as a completion grade or do you grade each question and put it in the grade book as an actual grade’, things like that to see what the practices are.”

Mr. Conners also told the Ledger that the concerns brought forth by parents included both the amount of homework assigned and how much of that homework was going to count towards the student’s grade.

“I felt it was warranted to investigate what’s going on, and what our practices are in general,” he explained.

Mr. Conners further explained that the next step is a “parent survey, to have them report what they’re seeing on their end…just to see if it is a legitimate concern or if it is an isolated case.”

When asked how any policy would be enforced or any result of the surveys would be applied, Mr. Conners qualified that, “Realistically, it would be more of a class decision as far as homework, but we can make recommendations. If there are things that are excessive in there, then maybe we need to have individual conversations with people about the practices they are doing.”

Mr. Conners encourages students, parents, and teachers to come to the next SAC meeting on January 7th after school in the media center to input opinions and perspectives that could help the Task Force.