Regarding homework, do you grade for completion?Do you assign homework and give a grade based only on completion?  Is this effective?  How much effort is a student really putting into the...

Regarding homework, do you grade for completion?

Do you assign homework and give a grade based only on completion?  Is this effective?  How much effort is a student really putting into the homework, given an A will be the end result despite errors? As a parent of a middle school student and as a teacher, I see both sides.  Teacher: "Motivation to do the work." Parent: "What's the point? Give them a sticker instead! Test grades are still poor."

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't give partial credit for work only partially completed—mostly I won't take it unless it's complete. I do offer partial credit (a "C" with correct answers) for work turned in a day late, so kids can still keep the grade up. As an example, I tell my kids that when they start working, if they don't stay the whole day, they may get paid for only a couple of hours, but repeatedly doing so will get them fired.

I don't give busy work for homework. I try to make it meaningful, manageable, and even fun. Some kids love it. Some make do. And some refuse to do anything—for those kids, yes, their grades are bad. If they did the homework when they can use notes and a book, without the pressure of "testing," they can keep lower test grades from destroying their class average, but actually it should help keep their test grades up: often it's review or practice.

I won't stop giving homework because kids refuse to do it. If it's reasonable work for the age/level and relevant, then they should do it. It's like the boss asking you to write a report: you just to it.

And as a parent and teacher, I expect my daughter to do her best. It was the same with the older two before they graduated. If they needed help, we were there. If the youngest needs help, it's never a problem. But my daughter is not only learning content and reinforcing what she learns (and lots of times she hates it), she is learning to be responsible and stick with it even if she doesn't like it. If she doesn't do it, those grades will bite her in the butt, and it will be a situation of her making.

I believe the same goes for the classroom. If someone has a problem at home, or is struggling with a concept, I am there. I don't need to know their business, but if they explain there is a crisis at home, I can work something out with them. Otherwise, if they pay attention in class and follow directions, the homework isn't impossible. I don't want to beat them into the ground; I just want them to leave me knowing more than when they arrived.

job518 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I teach math, so just completion is really not enough. However, some value must be placed on attempting every problem. For me, attempting means writing the problem, showing where you tried something and providing an answer.

I do Homework Checks as daily/weekly grades. I do not take up homework assignments. I tried that for a little bit and, as stated above, it was very inefficient. I explain all of this to the students before the first HW Check. They do all the assigned problems. On HW Check day, I have a PowerPoint slide with various homework problems listed (such as - Pg 35 # 12)  that the student is to copy from his/her homework (no books allowed, only their homework paper can be on the desk) on to a clean sheet of paper. I take these up and grade them. For example, I pick 10 problems that are worth 2 points each - 1 for attempting the problem, 1 for the correct answer. The problems often come from the ones/types students have questions about and we work in class as a group. My incentive - this is an easy grade for those who do homework, the student can get at least 1/2 credit without answering a single question correctly, AND I have a chance to check several types of problems quickly and identify areas of concern for every student. The student never know which questions I am going to pick, so they need to complete all of the homework. I even change the numbers for different classes in the same subject.

I used this teaching high school and now for college. I love it! I can grade (provide feedback and see what needs work) 10 questions from 30 students a lot faster than I can count 30 problems for 30 students (without even knowing what the learned)! AND this only takes 10-12 minutes of intsructional time because they are only copying.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think this one will be moved to the "Discussions" thread immediately.  It might even already be there in different forms.  I think that homework grading is extremely powerful and a topic for which there is no easy answer. The only potential answer one can derive is that "there are many answers."  On one level, I think that homework needs to be graded for completion.  It is important for all students to become accustomed to the idea that learning and educational work must be undertaken outside of class.  Grading homework for completion reaffirms the idea that students understand that they must devote some outside of class time to their studies.  At the same time, I think that teachers might need to clearly ensure that their homework mirrors assessments on both classroom and external level.  Additionally, teachers need to be able to distinguish that homework and comprehension might be two different realms.  Students who understand material, but do not do homework need to remedy this particular aspect of their educational consciousness.  Students who complete homework, but do not fully grasp concepts on assessments need to remedy this component of their academic state of being.  At the same time, teachers need to be mindful that students might not understand such a distinction.  Teachers need to be monitoring their students' progress and make individual accommodations to ensure that these gaps that might be present on the homework, but still not show up in the gradebook because it has been completed on time, are remedied.  In the end, the only answer is again, "There are many answers."

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It depends on the subject. First, I am not a huge proponent of homework on the Elementary level. I believe in homework as primarily a means for extra independent practice of various concepts, and of course for longer-term reports or projects (which will certainly need a rubric and a specific grade).

But normally, since I was required to give homework, I assign practice problems, and the students receive credit, and are able to ask more specific questions as we review the assignment. It would be entirely too overwhelming to grade every homework assignment individually.

Now if I give a writing assignment, then that is certainly graded in detail.

Some students have chaotic home environments, have parents that can't read, or some students are just nearly homeless, taking care of younger siblings, and not eating properly etc. I certainly don't want to penalize them for not being able to correctly complete assignments. I have no idea what they are dealing with at home (actually I do for some of them, and it is tragic), but I try to make the majority of my graded assignments take place in class where I am in more control of the learning that is taking place.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Completion is a strong factor in my scoring homework; but not the only factor. It is tempting to do so, as grading homework requires a great deal of time; however one does not know if the student has carried away from the assignment that which he/she should unless one closely examines the work. Also, students quickly determine if a teacher simply checks off homework, and are then tempted to cut corners, write inappropriate answers, etc. simply to "get it done." I do allow students a great deal of latitude when scoring homework; but at the same time, I do not give credit for simply handing in a paper with writing vaguely resembling the topic. Completion and accuracy are both elements of accountability.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also teach at the high school level and don't grade based on completion, in fact I very rarely assign homework though the students are expected to be reading and at times working on long-term assignments on their own.

I just think that at this point, the expectation is that they do it or else I am wasting their time assigning it if it doesn't have some inherent value.  I think it is important that they have the choice to either learn what it is I hoped the homework would help them learn, or to ignore it and perhaps have a consequence later when they don't understand or fully grasp a certain idea.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I never grade homework based solely on completion.  Of course, I teach high school, and I would think that is the level on which grading for completion is least appropriate.  My kids are in grade school and they are graded on completion.  At that point I think it's fine because they are still motivated to do their best even if they're not getting graded.

But at the high school level (and, I think, the middle school level) I do not think that it is appropriate.  I think it sort of sends the message that this is just busy work and how you do on it is irrelevant.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I grade for completion, and I grade for corrections.  I want students to correct their own work.  I have two reasons for this.  First, I want quick turnaround.  If I collected and graded everything, they would not get it back quickly and by the time they did it would not be relevant, or I'd be exhausted.  Second, I want them to fix their own mistakes.  I stamp an assignment, then have them correct, then check to make sure they actually corrected.  I tell them that I already know how to do this, so they are the ones that need the practice!

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the same arguments might in an odd way support both sides. Some students might not consider it "worth" their time if it's not worth enough points. However, other students will be hesitant to try if they feel they will come up short and receive a poor grade. i think grading on completion depends upon the assignment and the assignment objectives. Some rote homework that needs to be done for memorization would not be considered the same way as work that really required higher order thinking.

pammyteacher-rocks | Student

If homework is effective and relevant and the teacher is motivating then the children should perform better on tests not worse.  I always try to make my homework meaningful to the standards that we're learning.  I take homework as a completion grade but look over it briefly before going over it together to make sure that the student applied effort.  Where I win with my students is that I model for them (and they know this verbatim) that I work their brains while they're at school with me.  I don't want them to go home and spend an overwhelming amount of time on homework.  This time should be for family, friends, and relaxing.  I encourage them to get their parent involved by impressing them with how much they're learning in 4ht grade.  My students are so proud when they come in and say things like, "My dad didn't even know how to do this!"

hunny8230 | Student
Regarding homework, do you grade for completion?

Do you assign homework and give a grade based only on completion?  Is this effective?  How much effort is a student really putting into the homework, given an A will be the end result despite errors? As a parent of a middle school student and as a teacher, I see both sides.  Teacher: "Motivation to do the work." Parent: "What's the point? Give them a sticker instead! Test grades are still poor."

How I grade an assignment does depend on the type of assignment. For the most part, however, I do grade homework on completion. To me, homework is practice, and I do not believe students should be penalized for wrong answers on "practice" assignments, especially since these are done at home without any type of guidance or assistance. I do correct any mistakes I see on homework assignments before I return them to my students so that they are aware of the mistakes they have made. Also, we go over homework as a class, and I am careful to stress the parts of the assignment where I saw students were having the most difficulties.


casakate | Student

I suppose that this speaks directly to math assignments.  As a student, I was bored when I had to complete 100 equations that were basically the same.  If I had the concept, why should I just "parrot" the entire three page assignment.  As a teacher, I think that the demonstration of mastery should be sufficient for the student.  Imagine all that homework that the teacher would not have to suffer through and correct!  Perhaps a point value system based on the number of correct answers?  Demonstrated mastery is more important than completed homework.

brownl016 | Student


Thank you for the feedback.  Please know that after professionally presenting my concerns, my son's middle school teacher made some changes! The teacher now grades homework.  Additionally, I pushed the teacher to consider the data: What percentage of the students mastered the concepts on the post assessments?  After some back and forth discussion, the teacher made some changes. 

After reflecting on my initial post, I realize this: Dynamics change every year (or every semester).  My syllabus for one year, may need to be altered the next based on the needs of my students.  I would encourage you to re-evaluate your performance tasks and assessments each year.  Use the data to drive your instruction.  The smallest change could make the biggest difference!

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