A for Effort

Completion vs. Grading: The Age Old Question

A simple homework grade. For some, it’s a consistent 100% that requires nothing but submitting a picture. At its hardest, it’s a scanned PDF of nightly homework and is often an easy way to boost your grade. For others, this is not the case. For some math classes in the Upper School, homework is graded on accuracy and has a potential risk to even bring down your grade.

This raises many questions for students. Can you cheat on this homework to get a better grade? Should you? What is even considered cheating in this case? When it’s not graded, do students try as hard? The choice on how to grade homework is entirely up to the teacher, yet it seems to be something affecting many students, as it can directly affect a grade.

My math homework is graded on completion. This is also the option I believe makes the most sense. For me, it seems to be the obvious choice, although others disagree. I know other classes where students are graded each night on homework accuracy. This then becomes an average homework grade that further impacts their class grade. My homework grade relies solely on completion. It relies on me scanning my homework to turn it into a PDF, uploading it, and submitting it on the portal.

For students who are graded on completion, homework is a simple way to improve a grade. The only way it could have a negative impact would be to not do the homework at all. When parts of a grade are heavily impacted by a homework grade, it makes it hard for students whose work is graded on accuracy.

Having homework graded on accuracy brings a new perspective to doing homework. It takes away the idea of doing homework to enhance understanding and makes it about always being completely accurate. It adds an element of perfectionism in a process that should really be about learning. Isn’t homework supposed to be about practice? When you add a number to that, it adds unnecessary stress and an expectation for perfectionism––something that already consumes many students at Parker.

The need for a better grade fuels the need for perfection on homework. Yes, I can see what’s appealing about grading. Grading on accuracy forces kids to put in effort, it makes sure they can successfully perform the material, and it’s supposed to be a way to see who gets it and who doesn’t. This intent is ruined, though, when another issue is raised. Students want their grade to be positively impacted by their homework. In order to do this, they need it to be almost perfect each night. As homework is done at home, it can be easily googled to ensure the right answers. This takes away from the very idea of homework as something to practice with and become better at. Having all of the resources we have makes it far too easy to not learn anything from the process because of a want for a better grade. This teaches people how to cheat, rather than the material.

Grading homework on accuracy takes away from the intent of students putting in effort through effortless searches online for the right answer. The intent of checking to see if students comprehend is no longer in the picture, and students will no longer be the ones successfully performing the material. Their phone will be. Checking which students understand material well shouldn’t be based off of how they perform on homework. You can’t accurately see who gets it and who doesn’t when there is a drive for accuracy. Students who aren’t getting it then can make it look as though they do. Seeing who really comprehends it is for tests. Homework shouldn’t become something that drives the same level of perfectionism that tests do.

Grading homework on accuracy is just an additional way for students to focus so much on the grade that the learning is swept aside. Many people argue that homework is to better the learning process. Grading homework on accuracy isn’t the ideal way to learn. Instead, it will teach students who have easy access to the internet to cut corners. Grading homework will only push another percentage in the faces of students and feed the need for perfection and quantity of the grade number through accuracy rather than quality of the learning, understanding, and completion.