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Missouri middle school: Students failing homework? Then don't assign any

Monday, December 14, 2009 | 11:52 a.m. CST

BLOOMFIELD — It sounds like a student's dream — a school with little or no homework.

That's the plan for Bloomfield Middle School in southeast Missouri.

Administrators noticed in recent years that more students were struggling and failing classes. School officials cited a study that showed that much of the problem was the result of either low homework scores or failure to turn in homework assignments.

Administrators decided to implement a new policy that will mean no homework, or at least very little, according to the Dexter Daily Statesman.

The goal is to reduce the amount of lecture time in class and increase the amount of hands-on instruction time. That way, students will do what used to be homework in class with the teacher there to help them.

Superintendent Nick Thiele said once a student falls behind, it becomes increasingly difficult to get grades back up.

"When they get in that position, sometimes we can't help them," he said.

Principal Kelly Renfroe, who announced the policy change in a letter earlier this month, is hopeful the new approach will give students better study skills they can carry with them into high school.

The letter sent home to parents outlined four goals:

  • Gain an accurate assessment of students' academic ability and knowledge.
  • Provide all students with work that is appropriate and challenging.
  • Provide students with immediate feedback as they complete assignments.
  • Provide rewards (when appropriate) to those working above and beyond.

The new policy will be implemented on a trial basis. A specific timetable was not announced.

"More help at the classroom level will really benefit those students who don't finish their work at home," Thiele said.

 


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