Motivating students to complete homework on time

Find out how some Sparx schools motivate their students to complete homework on time and improve your hand-in rates

Most schools we have spoken to find that using a mixture of rewards and sanctions is the best way to motivate their students to complete their Sparx homework on time.

We recommend planning a consistent approach to improving motivation across the whole department and to share this with the wider school community so they can support your aims.

Below are some examples of activities schools have been using to motivate and improve hand-in rates:

Using Sparx Experience Points (XP)

Schools using Sparx Maths Homework have successfully integrated some or all of the following activities into their existing rewards schemes to motivate their students:

  • Using the weekly XP on the Reports download to work out which students and classes have earned the most XP points each week and rewarding them in some way.
  • Using the Student Rewards section of Teacher Portal to reward students who move up a level.
  • Translating XP to merits (or other measures of success) in the whole school rewards system.
  • Termly or half-termly awards ceremonies for students who have leveled up, either in tutor groups or year groups.
  • Prizes and certificates for each level. Certificate templates can be found here.
  • Using XP and levels as currency for the school shop.

Using rewards

  • Class-wide prizes (e.g. a pizza party)
  • Postcards home to parents
  • Certificates
  • Linking Sparx XP to an existing school reward system, e.g. to convert to merits, or to buy things in the school reward shop (see XP section below for further examples)
  • Reward ceremonies
  • Healthy competition between class teachers or year groups
  • Raffles
  • Mentions on social media

Whole School approach

  • Using year tutors to mentor students and to check homework during registration and tutor time
  • Invite the head teacher and other members of SLT to reward assemblies (or detentions)
  • Encourage staff from both within and outside the maths department to mention homework completion status to students in passing, for example in the corridor or at lunchtime
  • Sharing the top and bottom performing students with the Heads of Year/Heads of House so they can praise and sanction appropriately

Using sanctions

  • Setting detentions for students who have completed anything less than 100% of homework 
  • Involving parents if homework is not complete
  • Flagging students who repeatedly don't complete all homework to senior members of staff


You might also find the following links on Sparx XP and Levels useful:

Article: What are XP and Sparx levels?

Training Presentation: What are Student Rewards?