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Assessment and Homework in Secondary School

August 31, 2017-- ISD focused on evaluating our assessment practices during the 2016-17 school year; the result was a new policy. This year, ISD will continue to push forward and improve our assessment practices. We are honored to host Tom Guskey at ISD on September 4 & 5, to help us think through these issues even more. Dr. Guskey is a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Kentucky, known throughout the world for his work on student assessment, grading and reporting, professional learning, and educational change. One of the many things we will be discussing with Tom is ISD's continued improvements to student assessment.

After this conference, and then throughout the year, we will refine our assessment practices and work to ensure that we as a school are on a common philosophical footing in terms of what we assess, how we assess, and more importantly, why we assess.  

Simply put, we assess to further student learning.  There are many secondary and tertiary goals for assessing, but our driving purpose of assessment is that assignments and the feedback on assignments further the academic development of our students.

Any discussion of assessment is necessarily connected to a discussion of homework.  Earlier in the year we sent out information about the After School Homework Support (ASHS) program we have in the High School and the Middle School Success Program in the Middle School (MSSP).  The premise of these two programs is that students need to complete their homework on time to further their learning in class.  Built into this is the expectation that teachers assign homework that is purposeful.  Any assigned work should be designed to build directly on previous learning and lead directly into future learning.  That is, we do not and will not simply give homework for the sake of homework.  

As such, it is actually much more appropriate to refer to what happens outside of class as home-learning, to help ensure that the message is clear - time spent on studies by students outside of class must foster learning.

We ask you as parents to monitor your child’s home-learning so that you are aware of what they are doing, as well as why they are doing it.  As a school, we are very much interested in hearing from you about what you see.  

To help frame your look into your child’s home-learning, you are kindly invited to read and enjoy this article which appeared in The Atlantic several years ago - “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me”, by Karl Greenfeld, October 2013.

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