Administrative Procedure 206: Homework

Legal References

Education Act: Section 265 (1) (g) Duties of Principal - Co-operation; Section 264 Duties of Teachers - Teach, Learning, Co-operation; Effective Instruction, Report Cards, EQAO Tests; Policy/Program Memorandum No. 160 Protected time for Daily Mathematics Instruction, Grades 1 to 8; Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools, First Edition, Covering Grades 1 to 12 (2010); Growing Success: The Kindergarten Addendum, Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools (2016).

Related References

1.0 The Director of Education has developed this administrative procedure to articulate system expectations related to homework.
School-wide homework guidelines and practices should be established, reviewed and discussed by staff each year and communicated to parents/guardians and students early in the school year.

2.0 Definitions
Homework. Work that students do at home to practice skills, consolidate knowledge and skills, and/or prepare for the next class. Growing Success, p. 148. Homework tasks designed to help students practice and consolidate new learning can also provide assessment information that both teachers and students can use to adjust instruction and focus learning. Growing Success, p. 34.

There are four types of commonly assigned homework, each having a different intended outcome as shown below.
Definition Intended Outcome Application
Completion Any work assigned during the school day and not completed in class. Helps students keep up to date with the class work. The class work should be differentiated if a student consistently has homework as a result of incomplete work.
Practice Any work that reviews and reinforces skills and concepts taught in class. Helps students practice previously acquired skills to develop subject fluency. To be effective, practice homework requires students to already be able to independently perform the skills required. The same amount of practice on a topic spread over time is more effective than a concentrated block.
Preparation Any work that prepares students for upcoming lessons or classes. Encourages students to acquire background information or to bring their prior knowledge and experiences to upcoming tasks and instruction. Preparation homework can effectively be used to differentiate the class work for individual student learning needs.
Consolidate Any work that explores and refines classroom learning in new contexts or integrates and expands on classroom learning. Encourages students to problem solve, think creatively and critically. To be effective, consolidation homework should not require a student to learn curriculum content independently. Instead, students deepen understanding and relate learning to the real world. Projects are one of the least effective forms of homework.

3.0 Procedure
3.1 Effective Homework Assignments
Homework assignments shall be clearly articulated and carefully planned, and involve consultation among core, rotary and subject teachers, where appropriate. Also, where appropriate, homework assignments shall be differentiated to reflect the unique needs of every student.

Effective homework assignments:
    1. are curriculum based;
    2. meet the developmental and individual needs of the student through differentiation and modification;
    3. should be used to provide teacher feedback for future learning and adjust instruction;
    4. should not require a student to learn curriculum content independently;
    5. are meaningful and relevant to student learning;
    6. students’ expectations are clear before leaving school;
    7. do not require resources or technology to which students may not have access;
    8. may be designed to involve parents/caregivers in supporting their student's learning but should not require them to teach new concepts.
3.2 Assessment & Evaluation of Homework
As per Growing Success (2010):
    1. Assignments for evaluation must not include ongoing homework that students do in order to consolidate their knowledge and skills or to prepare for the next class.
    2. To ensure equity for all students, assignments for evaluation are to be completed, whenever possible, under the supervision of a teacher.
    3. Homework completion is reported only in the Learning Skills Section of the Progress and Provincial Report Cards for grades 1 - 12 as a part of the Responsibility category.
3.3 Timing, Scheduling and Quantity of Homework
Time spent on homework should be balanced with the importance of personal and family wellness and the wide array of family obligations experienced in our society today. Differentiation of homework and the time spent on homework depends on grade level and student needs.
The impact of homework on achievement is related more to the purpose and quality of homework than the quantity.
    1. Kindergarten
      Independent homework should not be assigned to Kindergarten students. There is a strong connection between parental involvement and student achievement. As a result, families are encouraged to engage in early learning activities such as playing, talking and reading together in English and/or in the family's first language, playing math games, etc. Teachers may provide resources to support home-based early learning activities.
    2. Grades 1 to 6
      There is a strong connection between student success and reading to/with elementary children every day in English and/or in one's first language. As a result, homework assigned in the early grades should often take the form of reading, playing a variety of games, interactive math activities, having discussions and cooperative activities such as building and cooking with the family, etc. In the late Primary and Junior grades homework assigned for completion, practice, preparation or consolidation should be clearly articulated and differentiated to reflect the unique needs of the child.
    3. Grades 7 to 8
      Homework assignments for completion, practice, preparation or consolidation for students in grades 7 and 8 shall be clearly articulated and carefully planned, in partnership among core and rotary teachers. The purpose of this homework should be communicated to parents and students.
    4. Grades 9 to 12
      Homework assignments for completion, practice, preparation or consolidation for students in grades 9 to 12 shall be clearly articulated and carefully planned in partnership among subject teachers to ensure a reasonable student workload.
3.4 General Guidelines

3.4.1 Parents/caregivers who have concerns with homework expectations for their child shall be encouraged to first contact their child’s teacher and then if necessary, the school administration, to discuss the situation.
3.4.2 Homework should not be assigned during scheduled holidays as outlined in the school year calendar or days of significance.
3.4.3 Wherever possible, homework assignments should be flexible in terms of completion times and communicated to students and families in advance. This will best support homework completion by balancing the time required to complete homework with extra-curricular activities scheduled outside of the school day and activities that support personal and family wellness.
3.4.4 During the time of final evaluations, a moratorium period on work completed outside of the classroom, other than preparation for the examination/culminating activity itself, of four (4) days will occur prior to the scheduled final exam period.

3.5 Homework During Extended Absences

3.5.1 Teachers shall not be expected to provide detailed classroom work and homework assignments for students who are away for extended periods
of time as a result of family or parent-initiated absences. For absences due to extended illness, parents may contact the school principal to discuss available options.
3.5.2 When a student is removed from class due to long term suspension/expulsion it is the principal’s responsibility to coordinate the educational program.
Revised September 2022