Toronto considers limits to homework
BY JANICE TIBBETTS CANWEST NEWS SERVICE
The Windsor Star
02 Apr 2008
Canada’s largest school board is considering banning homework during holidays and long weekends, the centrepiece of a proposed policy that is sparking calls for other boards to review their practices and counter a growing backlash against a “culture of... read more...
I wanted to put on my A&E hat again and discuss this one. I am sure there are many opinions across the board and hopefully you will voice yours!
The Toronto District School Board has decided to tackle the homework question. How much is too much? Apparently Weekends and Holidays could be off limits in Toronto.
It seems like students are getting even less oppourtunity with higher expectations, or does it? Maybe homework is not the answer? In 2000 changes were made in the Secondary panel that condensed 5 years of high school for University bound students into 4. There was a considerable amount of overlap in the curriculum that was removed however, condensing a 5 year program into 4 is still translates into an increase in expectations for students. The Elementary panel was also given a more robust curriculum that demands more from students. None of this is news to a teacher but it is clear we are expecting more than in the past. The Ministry of Education dictated a new assessment and evaluation guideline that was outlined in the Ministry Document "Grades 9 to 12 Program Planning and Assessment Guide". Assessment and evaluation changed significantly for both Elementary and Secondary. The secondary policy reads:
This portion of the grade should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement
throughout the course, although special consideration should be given to more recent
evidence of achievement."
This statement actually encourages teachers to evaluate more however, teachers have been told by the Ministry we evaluate too much. They want teachers to do more assessment and less evaluation. Students need more practice and feedback before they are evaluated. This is probably true but homework is assessment and although differenciated instruction gurus suggest it is only one of many strategies that should be employed it is certainly a popular one. Do we take up all this homework anyway? Do we assign too much or too little?
So where do we stand on this issue? Would the world stop if we didn't send home homework on Friday's and before Holidays? Are PD days considered Holidays? We know where the students stand but what about the parents? Talk about a cultural shift!
In order to obtain a grade based on the most consistent level of achievement the larger the sample the better. So which is it? Does the Ministry want more or less? I have always found the Ministry to be inconsistent on this issue. Perhaps they will shed some more light on this issue in 2009 when they release their new policy document on Assessment and Evaluation.
Until then, what do you think?
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