Parents ask for help

Survey reveals inconsistencies in homework amounts


The survey results confused tabulators.

Some parents complained their children were bringing home too much homework. Others said it was too little.

Members of the Moffat County School District parent-driven School Accountability Committee decided to investigate.

They surveyed the district's teachers and found that parents were right in both instances. Where some teachers were assigning no homework, others teaching the same class were assigning up to five hours a week.

And the reasons for assigning homework differed, as well. Some were doing it to reiterate a day's lesson, while others were readying students for a future lesson or test.

"We kind of found out what we knew from our surveys," SAC committee member Pam Hastings said.

The results of the survey will be shared with teachers in the hope that they agree on some level of standardization.

"We made (teachers) reflect on their own practices," Superintendent of Schools Pete Bergmann said. "We identified some inconsistencies throughout the district, even in each grade level and course.

"I think the information that was gained through the process itself was valuable to teachers in terms of evaluating their current practices."

School administrators identified "best practices" for homework and will pass those along to teachers, but SAC committee members asked school board members Thursday night to consider implementing districtwide guidelines.

"We want homework at the first-grade level to be the same for all first grade students," SAC committee member Katherine Blevins said.

The guidelines should create consistency, but be flexible, Bergmann said.

School board members agreed data showed a policy was needed but don't want to restrict individual teaching methods.

"I believe if we do develop some sort of policy, it should be very broad," board member JoAnn Baxter said.

Board member Steve Hafey said he's heard similar complaints about homework, but added one that wasn't mentioned on the survey.

"I think there should be a guideline -- not a rule -- that we're going to be sensitive to kids in class who participate in an (extracurricular) activity," he said.

Hafey said he's been to out-of-town sporting events where he's seen athletes sitting in the bleachers doing their homework and asked whether teachers could reduce the amount of homework given to athletes on game nights.

The survey results have started the ball rolling in a positive direction, Blevins said. It raised teacher awareness, exposed inconsistencies and led to the development of Hallmarks of Excellence for Homework, which the committee used to formulate a plan of action.

That plan includes sharing with teachers "best practices" for the definition of homework, its purpose, the proper amount and the roles of the school and parents.

No policy was proposed, but the board will look into the issue further, and the SAC committee will come back with solid recommendations.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or

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