The Great Summer Assignment Debate

Posted on Nov 5, 2017 in Connect2Tech | 0 comments

The Great Summer Assignment Debate

Recently at our school curriculum meeting the topic of summer assignments came into debate. It of course led to a discussion on homework, AP exams, college expectations, Honors vs. AP expectations etc. It was and will continue to be an ongoing discussion. The topic came up after several parents emailed the principal to complain that their students had spent the entire summer completing these assignments, then started the new year off extremely stressed, especially the freshmen.

I am not a fan of summer assignments. As a teacher, I want my own summer to be spent with my family and therefore, I feel my children deserve this also. We travel, play games, do many activities and they are occasionally bored but for the most part, they are active, mentally and physically. I never had a problem getting my daughter to read, in fact she read more during the summer than in any honors class.

I do agree with the math and English teachers that the students need some kind of diagnostic pre-assessment at the beginning of the school year to find out what they know, what I might need to re-teach, and be able to begin differentiating my class. I do not agree that this should be a part of their grade. This is a formative assessment, and they should not spend the rest of the semester trying to dig their way out of  bad grade on what they may or may not have been taught.

Then of course there is the argument, “If they are in Honors/AP they should expect it.” But didn’t they just spend the last year earning the grade and scoring high on the entrance test to prove they belong there? Yes they should read, but not an assigned book like Great Expectations that is more painful for me than it is for them. And yes they should prove they read something, but how about doing a Booksnap using Flipgrid where student can respond to each other and have fun?

There are those parents who want their kids to have summer assignments. They claim their kids need it to keep their brains going. I don’t know but as a parent, I found many activities my daughter could do with her family and friends that were educational, fun, and did not end in frustration and tears.

I understand that colleges are “demanding” this. But why can’t we fight back and say no! My child will be fine at your school without all the extra work. They can still be hardworking, responsible, critical thinkers without the burden of summer assignments. Do you hear me Ivy League schools? I’m talking to you. And parents, a degree from a school like Stanford does not mean your student will be successful. I know plenty of smart, successful people with a degree from a state school or even no degree at all. Spend the summer getting to know your child and helping them find their own path, not the path you think they should follow.

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