Los Angeles School District Gives Students a Break on Homework

Family Matters on 06.29.11


Students in the L.A. Unified school district may not need to spend as much non-school time on term paper outlines, math problems, and biology labs anymore: A new policy within the district says that homework can only count for a maximum of 10 percent of a student's grade in a class.

The school system -- the country's second-largest, according to the Los Angeles Times -- isn't following the lead of other districts that limit the amount of homework teachers can assign: It's only limiting the weight that homework can have on the grade.

Homework has its place -- many educators believe it's a critical part of grasping the concepts taught in class, and say that the new policy will "encourage students to slack off assigned work...and could penalize hardworking students who recieve higher marks for effort." 

The school policy, though, says that making homework count as too much of a final grade can be counterproductive for students: "Varying degrees of access to academic support at home, for whatever reason, should not penalize a student so severely that it prevents the student from passing a class, nor should it inflate the grade," says the policy.

The students interviewed by the paper point out that, while some homework assignments really do help their understanding of a subject, others are nothing more than busywork -- and far too easy to copy. 

Senior Manny Hernandez spends his free time building up his own janitorial business. Homework, he says is "a waste of time and a poor reflection of whether I'm learning the subject. And it's so easy to copy other students' homework, it's ridiculous."

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