The Uproar

Rethinking Homework

NA teachers and administrators tackle homework-related student stress

photo by Anjana Suresh

photo by Anjana Suresh

Anjana Suresh, Junior Co-Editor

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There’s no question among students that homework can often be redundant, ineffective, and a major source of stress. 

“I think homework can be helpful, but sometimes teachers assign busy work, and that can be a problem,” senior Nathan Kelly said. 

On the October 8th staff development day, NA teachers and administrators met for three hours to discuss concerns about student stress levels relating to homework. The meeting was part of a larger initiative to tackle student stress that the district introduced two years ago.  During the in-service, teachers broke up into small groups and read articles on the intended purpose of homework, as well as articles about ways to improve the quality and effectiveness of assignments that students receive.

Several questions about homework were embedded into the school climate survey that the district issued last March, and the data from those questions were shared during the in-service day, facilitating an open discussion between teachers and administrators.

Some of the points of the discussion included differences among teachers in assigning homework, differences in the ways teachers assign points for homework, and the varying workload between academic, Honors, and AP classes.

According to some of the data from the homework survey shared at the meeting, the majority of surveyed high school students said that they spent 11-20 hours per week on after-school activities, and more than half of the students surveyed responded that they received more than 90 minutes of homework per night.

“I think we recognize, and students recognize, that homework is important, but how homework is conveyed can be unclear,” Dr. Kreider said. “One of the strategies we thought we’d put in place was to communicate back to students what the workload looks like for a certain course, so that during the scheduling process students can take a look at how they can manage their time.”

At the level of central administration, the homework concern is front and center this year.  The goal is to involve all stakeholders before pursuing any permanent measures.

“A lot of it will have to be communication based,” Assistant Superintendent David Christopher said. “I think we really have to talk with parents, too, to determine if the work that comes with taking five AP classes will really benefit their kids.” The kids that graduated [well below the top of] their class still went to schools like Pitt and Penn State, so I think a big thing that we also have to do is really change the narrative.”

About the Writer
Anjana Suresh, Junior Class Co-Editor

Anjana Suresh is a junior at NASH. Originally from Michigan, she moved to Pittsburgh in 2014. She is a part of the NA Rowing team and has been involved with Key Club. If she survives high school, she hopes to study engineering in college. In her very limited free time, she likes to sleep, listen to music, try new restaurants downtown, and hang out with friends.

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Rethinking Homework