Creating a department homework monitoring policy

      Creating a department homework monitoring policy

        Article summary

        Having a homework monitoring policy that both teachers and students understand and stick to is essential for getting the best outcomes for your students. Schools that have a clear homework monitoring strategy have found that teachers are better able to support students in their work, which results in high homework completion rates and subsequently more rapid progress through the content.

        Laura Jacobs, Director of Maths for Ted Wragg Academy Trust explains how having clear processes and culture in place for monitoring homework makes all the difference:

        Start with clear hand-in and hand-out days

        The choice of hand-out and hand-in days should be considered carefully to ensure that:

        • Teachers have enough time to monitor progress toward completion
        • There is time to give support and encouragement to students

        When choosing your hand-out/hand-in days and times, consider having:

          • Hand-in on the same day as a timetabled lesson: students who have completed their homework can be praised and have their books collected or checked. Students who have not completed their homework can be reminded to do so.
          • The same hand-out and hand-in days across the school (or at least each year group): this helps support clear and consistent messaging about expectations
          • A weekend between hand-out and hand-in days: this gives students more time to complete their work.

        We recommend having a Wednesday to Wednesday hand-out to hand-in format. If this is not possible we recommend avoiding a Monday hand-in, as we've seen that schools that do so have statistically lower completion rates.

        Find out how to set your hand-in and hand-out days and times in this article: Changing hand-in/hand-out days/times

        Set expectations for completion

        Set out your expectations for both staff and students from the beginning:

        For students:

        • What do you expect students to have done and by when?
        • What will you do if this expectation is met?
        • What will you do if this expectation is not met?

        For staff:

        Take a look at our video explaining the data we have found that shows how to significantly improve homework completion with regular use of the hand-in page:

        • What monitoring activities will staff need to do each week?
        • What rewards and sanctions will they use?
        • Who will check to see if these are being carried out?

        Read our Creating a homework rewards system article for ideas on how to motivate students to finish their homework on time

        Support students to finish on time

        We recommend that each teacher spend a couple of minutes discussing Sparx at the beginning of every maths lesson. This is a great opportunity to praise students and chat with those who have not yet started or appear to be struggling.

        Monitoring homework using the Hand-in page

        The Hand in Page is designed to support teachers to monitor homework. Watch this video to hear how you could use it to boost homework completion rates:

        Monitoring progress using the Insights page

        The Insights Page shows where students have struggled or excelled and can be used mid-week to help students who have started their homework and pre-empt any struggles for pupils who have yet to start.

        Reinforce expectations after the deadline

        • Carry out your rewards policy and any agreed sanctions
        • Involve members of SLT where possible to either give rewards or supervise sanctions

        The role of Sparx Leader

        The Sparx Leader at each school can play a pivotal role in planning and helping to monitor the homework completion status for each class. Below are some suggestions for how they can help facilitate the monitoring policy

        • Track the homework completion status for each class using the Incomplete Homework List, noting any classes or students who have a low completion status.
        • Raise any concerns with class teachers in regular meetings so they can support their students in advance of homework due dates
        • Ensure students are being set, and are attending, detentions if they fail to complete homework
        • Set aside time in departmental meetings to discuss successful strategies for raising completion rates among students
        • Monitor and/or require that students catch up on and complete previous homework because the more we know about what a student has or hasn't mastered, the better quality homework we can set them


        Was this article helpful?