Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest

Homework & Assessment Policy

Homework is a vitally important extension of school work.  Properly set, completed, marked and rewarded it is a powerful contributor to the following:

• promoting independent study skills
• promoting a self-disciplined and self-motivated attitude to study
• encouraging pupils to become autonomous learners
• reinforcing and extending knowledge and understanding
• achieving individual excellence
• building self-esteem and confidence
• evaluating teaching and learning
• evaluating pupils’ progress
• meeting parental expectations

Motivation, confidence and self-esteem will all be enhanced when pupils achieve / accomplish and gain recognition for this regularly.  The effectiveness of homework may be best gauged by its contribution to advancing pupils as autonomous learners and in the success they achieve.

Learning is reinforced by practice.  Only ideas and skills that have been structured, practised, reflected upon and organised will pass into the long term memory.

We encourage parents to take an active role in pupil homeworks and to communicate with the school concerning same.  In particular parents should:
• encourage pupils to spend the time recommended by the school on homework
• encourage high standards of effort and presentation
• encourage good study habits at home
• check homeworks regularly; in the junior school this should be done nightly and the homework diary signed
• expect homework to be set regularly, marked and monitored
• feel confident about contacting the school if you have any concerns

Possibly the single most important item in advancing the progress of a pupil is formative feedback – communicating to the pupil, in a positive and constructive way, how the work could be improved and commending them for good work.
As far as possible there should be a standard marking/grading scheme across the school.  The following provides a framework.  Some literature suggests marks shouldn’t be used.  Teachers may, on occasions, choose not to use marks/grades if it is felt a pupil’s self-esteem and confidence can be otherwise boosted.  Mathematics, English and Science may choose to use levels, especially in Yr10.

KS3:  Homework marked out of 10
8+    very good – excellent
5–7    good
0–5    poor – satisfactory
KS4:    Homework graded A*, A, B, C, Repeat
KS5:    Homework graded A, B, C, D, E, Repeat

The marking/grading scheme should be explained to every class at the start of each year.

Within this framework consistently high standards across the school are likely to exist and be maintained when:

• homework is set regularly, marked and returned promptly
• homework relates directly to the demands of the course and learning in the classroom
• homework is given in good time in the lesson and recorded in homework diaries / planners
• pupils are clearly instructed in what is required and expected
• homework is differentiated appropriately so that all pupils feel a measure of success
• high expectations regarding punctuality, presentation and effort are transmitted to pupils
• pupils are encouraged to take a pride in their work, books, files etc.
• a record of homework is maintained to map progress
• one-to-one or small group tuition is used
• in keeping with Literacy Policy, key literacy errors are highlighted as follows:

  sp - spelling error – highlighted and sp written in margin
  gr - grammatical error – highlighted and gr written in margin
  p  - punctuation error – highlighted and p written in margin
  F - incomplete sentence – highlighted and F for fragment written in margin
  R - sentences not separated by full-stop – R for run on sentence written in margin

• written work is first modelled in class
• the students have a clear purpose for any reading homework e.g. they have to search for information on a particular topic, and make brief notes
• in keeping with Numeracy Policy, key numeracy errors are highlighted as follows:
 rules of number errors – highlighted and num written in margin
 graphical error – highlighted and gph written in margin
 other errors – highlighted
• pupils are given concrete advice by subject teacher on how to study his/her particular subject
• HODs monitor the quality and regularity of homeworks and share good practice
• pupils are encouraged to make use of ICT
• variety in homework accommodates the different learning dispositions of pupils

Homework can take a variety of forms including writing, reading, learning, revising, preparing etc.  There should never be an evening when a pupil can say “I have no homework”.  Neither should pupils work excessively long hours over a sustained period of time.
Pupils are encouraged to spend the following times on homework each night.
KS3 pupils – 1˝–2 hours
KS4 pupils – 2–3 hours
KS5 pupils – 3+ hours
Pupils should be encouraged to:
• record all homework in the homework diary
• take the time and effort to do homework well
• use ICT frequently to present their work
• work in a quiet part of their home, away from distractions
• work in periods of 20-30 minutes taking a short break in between
• complete homeworks for the next day as a priority
• plan ahead to avoid having to do coursework assessment close to the deadline
• make good corrections especially relating to spelling, grammar and number
• have a contact in class to phone.