Should homework affect students’ grades?

For years homework has been defined as practice to be completed at home and learned from once corrected. Such a system allows students to learn from their mistakes and increase knowledge of the material.

However, some teachers employ a homework grading system that grades homework to the decimal point. For instance, a math teacher could assign 10 problems, a student could put in her best effort, and, despite her efforts, she could miss five problems, constituting a terrifying 50 percent, which badly impacts her grade.

Additionally, students also become more focused on cultivating the proper answer and forget the underlying meaning of homework: to learn. This system goes against the moral of practice work, preventing students from fully absorbing the material.

In my personal experience, I learn best from homework when I put in effort to complete the assignment and learn my mistakes the following day by going over the assignment in class. This allows students to recognize their mistakes while not impacting them or their grade too harshly.

While some may argue that by doing this students will neglect their mistakes, at this point in students’ lives they must be responsible for their own education, even if it means attending office hours for extra help.

“The consequence of grading homework can be the difference between passing or failing,” says Harvey Craft, author of “Teachers Should Avoid Grading Homework.” He adds, “This is a huge consequence for students to bear because some teachers don’t understand the fundamental difference between formative and summative assessments.”

In such a grading system, students may become discouraged when they receive an assignment on which they spent an hour filled with red markings and the word “FAIL” written across the top. Some students become unmotivated and slowly fail the class, while others may become too overwhelmed and completely break down.

Personally, I do not learn from such graded homework assignments. I focus too much on the answer and not enough on the homework. I spend every minute up to class comparing answers with other classmates who are just as scared as I am.

These graded assignments in turn only bring frustration and draw all the joy out of learning, causing my world to be revolved around a single letter grade.

Homework is to be learned from and mistakes are to be embraced. Mistakes are an essential way to learn, and, in a society that discourages such small inaccuracies, it is near impossible to change and improve.

School is supposed to be a pleasurable experience, and learning should be encouraging, but when our smallest mistakes impact our grade significantly, it becomes quite the opposite.

Learning is such an important and valued aspect of society, and when the young people of today are too afraid to make mistakes it impacts our society negatively, preventing ourselves from developing and improving.

–Joyce Doherty