Should homework be graded based on accuracy rather than for completion?: Pro


Written by Madison Nguyen

With new teachers, harder classes and more homework, the start of each school year is a shift for everyone. Each teacher has their own way of deciding how to grade homework; some grade based on completion while others may grade based on how accurate each response is. Those who don’t grade for accuracy believe that not every student will master every problem right away. However, the purpose of homework is to encourage students to understand the material they have learned in class and to give them feedback in order to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the next quiz or test. Accuracy-based grading motivates students to push harder in their classes and teaches valuable life lessons.

In our district’s competitive environment, most students strive for academic success. Accuracy-based homework grading helps students achieve just that. When completing homework, students should be going through each problem and checking for mistakes rather than zipping through in a rush to finish. If students don’t complete each problem carefully, they risk not understanding the material. According to the California Healthy Kids Survey from 2015, 60 percent of juniors work hard on their homework to get a good grade. Although some of these students succeed because of an intrinsic motivation, other students need further incentive, such as getting a grade for their work. When students unfairly receive credit for assignments they didn’t actually complete, they also won’t know what they truly need help with. As test day arrives, they won’t understand what to study or how to complete many problems.

According to a study published by the Teachers College Record in 2015, the way in which teachers grade homework can affect students’ motivation levels and classroom environments. The study surveyed 1,483 teachers and found that those who graded homework based on completion caused the students’ grades to inflate, which in turn decreased their motivation. It’s likely that students stopped caring about the quality of their homework assignments when they knew their grade wouldn’t be affected. On the other hand, teachers who graded students’ homework for accuracy made their pupils more aware of their grades; they provided more meaningful uses of class time which resulted in an increase in participation, focus and motivation for students. When homework becomes essential to learning, students fall in line, prompting themselves to learn the material and to take initiative in their work, which ultimately boosts their grades.

It is worthwhile to point out that in addition to academics, students often pile on extracurriculars, such as sports, clubs and other programs, making for a packed schedule. Although completion-based grading may assist in lowering the stress caused by this, it also keeps students from learning to maintain a work-life balance. On the other hand, accuracy-based grading will teach students time management skills by holding them accountable for not only completing assignments, but also putting in the effort required to properly answer every question.

Accuracy-based grading helps students excel in school, and it also builds a strong foundation of work ethic to grow on. Being more engaged in class improves both their academic and everyday lives, by ensuring that they learn to manage their time well. It’s up to teachers to provide a motivating work environment through encouraging students to put their best effort into every assignment.