The No-Homework Policy

By: Anonymous, 9th Grade

Homework is defined as “schoolwork that a pupil is required to do at home” by Oxford Languages (n.d). The New Horizons has a “no-homework” policy that prevents teachers from assigning homework to students, so they can have more free time in the afternoon. However, this “no-homework” policy is realistically unattainable, since you cannot expect students to complete all of their work in class. And, most students do end up doing homework regardless. But, why?

Most teachers at the New Horizons assign a large number of projects and presentations, to the point where it is not uncommon to have at least two presentations per week. But projects are longer than usual class assignments, which basically means that most students are not going to be able to finish their projects during class time. This wouldn’t be a problem, however, if teachers had a more relaxed schedule for students. 

To put this into perspective, here’s an example of what a high school class once had to experience. One group presentation was assigned on a Wednesday – the presentation was due the next day at 10:00 AM. However, the class started at 10:50 on the next day, basically forcing students to finish their presentations as homework or risk ruining their grades. Additionally, students had a quiz on the same topics that were included in the project, and although most failed; a student claimed that it was because the understanding a teacher has of the topic is not the same as a student has. Therefore making students do a presentation does not give them a better understanding of the topic, and thus, making them fail the quiz.

There are also various cases where students have to skip after-school activities or sleep late to finish their assignments. For example, three students stayed up until 3:00 AM to finish an English presentation. Two students had to skip their Debate workshop to finish a poster board for their Sociales class. Another student had to pull an all-nighter to finish their Science presentation. Other students have to do their assignments during another class since they can’t skip their after-school activities. 

Students have expressed their discontent with the no-homework policy, saying that it simply does not do anything, because they’re still doing work. One 9th grade student stated that “the no-homework policy is not technically a lie – it is a bunch of presentations that accumulate, forcing students to do homework.” Another student states “sure, we are in 9th grade, of course, the work is going to be harder – still, that doesn’t mean there’s a need for a weekly presentation in every class.” 

And, at the end of the day, is homework really worth it? According to Lathan J. Ph.D. (n.d), excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems (sleep deprivation, headaches, and weight loss), and lack of balance in students’ lives. 82% of students stated that they were “often or always stressed about homework.” Homework also leads to cheating in the long term as 67% of high school students admit to copying homework. We can conclude that the amount of homework that students are doing (to the point where they stay up at 3:00 AM or wake up at 3:00 AM to finish their assignment) is not the amount that is considered healthy. In 35 different studies about the benefits of homework, 77% of the results show that there is a positive link between homework and academic achievement. And studies have also shown that homework helps with a student’s independence. But even so, an excessive amount of homework brings more cons than pros. 

The “no-homework” policy does not work, but it is not because teachers assign homework – it is because several teachers assign too many projects and presentations at the same time, which end up piling up, forcing students to do homework to get a good grade. While that technically means that the school is following their “no-homework” policy, the number of projects assigned to high school students can be considered homework in and of itself.

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