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Homework Policy Review

Recently, ACPS surveyed families and teachers to learn your opinions about homework and summer assignments.

Over 2,100 parents/students and 275 teachers responded to the ACPS homework survey conducted in late September. This page presents a general analysis of the survey results. Complete survey data, comments, and more are also available in documents linked from this page.

The survey is part of a study of our homework policy​ that responds to concerns raised by the ACPS School Health Advisory Board about the amount and quality of homework our students do. Initially, a committee of school administrators, teachers, and counselors met to review research on homework and to examine policies other divisions use. As a part of the process of studying our current practices, committee members have met with the County Student Council, Parent Council, the School Health Advisory Board, School Principals, and the Teacher Advisory Committee for their input.

The homework committee plans to present a draft revision of the policy​ to the School Health Advisory Board and to each high school’s PTSO before bringing it to the Albemarle County School Board for review in January or February. This will allow time for teachers to adapt their planning for the 2016-17 school year to incorporate any changes that may come about.

Thanks to all who participated in the homework survey. The comments and ideas you provided are a great resource for the committee.

Matthew S. Haas, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent

Survey Results Summary

Over 2,100 parents/students and 275 teachers responded to the Division homework survey conducted in late September. Teachers were asked the primary purpose of homework:

Q1. What is the primary purpose of homework?

Responses Count % Percentage of total respondents
Develop critical thinking skills by making connections with material 36 13.09%
Pre­learning/Class preparation ­ reading or preparing for new material 11 4.00%
Apply new skills or knowledge 55 20.00%
Revisit knowledge and test preparation 63 22.91%
To deepen understanding of the material through extension 58 21.09%
Other (Please specify) 52 18.91%
Total Responses 275

Teachers generally believe homework has three primary functions: revisit knowledge and prepare to assess their knowledge acquisition, deepen students’ understanding of the material, and apply new skills or knowledge. These purposes line up with best practices in homework; that it should reinforce what students have learned either through additional practice or extension.

Q12. To what extent is homework utilized in your class?

Responses Count % Percentage of total respondents
None 2 2.56%
Very Little 18 23.08%
Some 23 29.49%
A moderate amount 27 34.62%
A great deal 8 10.26%
Total Responses 78

Teachers also reported using homework fairly extensively in class. Nearly half of teachers responded that they used homework a moderate amount or a great deal. These two data points taken together reflect the power of homework to reinforce what students learn and how it is used by teachers to ensure that every student has access to the curriculum and are well prepared to be successful in the course.

1(g). Select the best response: My child has too much homework

Responses Count % Percentage of total respondents
Never 486 23.52%
Occasionally 725 35.09%
Often 500 24.20%
Always 355 17.18%
Total Responses 2066

Parents responded that they believe their students often have too much homework, which would appear to contradict the purposes and uses of homework reported by teachers. It could be that parents perceive their children as overburdened by homework because they don’t fully understand why the homework is assigned or how it is being used in the classroom. It could also be that teachers miscalculate how long their homework will take students to complete fully and appropriately.

Based on the results of these surveys it would be valuable to investigate how teachers can get a sense of how long homework takes students and how to communicate with parents the purpose of homework so the time spent on homework is valued.​​

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