Fri | Nov 15, 2019

Abandon homework assignments

Published:Thursday | October 24, 2019 | 1:13 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I am quite convinced that homework given to children up to primary-school level is irrelevant. In fact, I am certain that some of the School Based Assessments (SBAs) given at high school are not helpful to the learning process of the students.

For, in many cases, especially at the primary and pre-primary levels, the assignments are so difficult that even some of the parents cannot understand them. Attempting to explain the assignment to many of the students is often pointless. Yet, on completion and submission of same, they are led to receive up to full marks.

So, imagine a pre-primary or primary-school child completing the school year, having submitted all the assignments given (completed sometimes at great expense to parents), and then after collecting and grading them, the students never see them again; so the child never assisted in the construction of the assessment and never had the opportunity to discuss its relevance! What sense does this operation make?

Even at the secondary level, the same tends to apply; if it weren’t for the SBA, many more students would have ‘failed’ the subject totally. I put FAILED in quotation marks because of a truth, those who are said to have passed haven’t really mastered the subject adequately. Some who have passed English language, for example, can neither write nor speak the language adequately. This is not good.

It seems to me, therefore, that homework, especially up to primary-school level, should be abandoned and much more effort is placed in trying to help students to understand what they are being taught via guided discussions, activities and relevant play. At the secondary level, I would encourage that the grading system includes an oral presentation of the assessment, where either the process is explained by the students or an overview is given by them, during which the teacher/assessor may also ask questions for clarity.

Otherwise, homework assignments should be done away with, particularly up to the primary-school level with great thought on its usefulness given even at the secondary-school level.

a’Lerroy Brown

llbrown00@gmail.com