Beyond the Apple’s Guide to Equitable Homework

Here’s Beyond the Apple’s video, To homework or not to homework, that is the question.

For homework to be equitable, please consider the following:

Dr. Justin Tarte’s list of homework assumptions:

  • Students have a home
  • Students have time to complete homework
  • Students care if they complete homework
  • Students / parents have the language to complete the homework
  • Student have a place to complete the homework
  • I am the only teacher assigning homework

Nicole S. Carr’s keys to effective homework:

  • Purpose
  • Efficiency
  • Ownership
  • Competence
  • Aesthetic appeal (visually uncluttered)

and Carr’s procedures for assigning homework:

  • Assign homework at the beginning of the class on a topic that has been or will be covered in class
  • Explain the homework
  • Post the homework
  • Start the homework in class
  • Provide feedback promptly

Give it a try: Have a discussion about homework in your school. Use these questions to discuss the purpose and value of homework assignments.

  1. How is this homework assignment tied to prior learning?
  2. How does this homework connect lesson content to the real world?
  3. Is this homework designed to be completed independently? Are differentiated versions available for students who excel or students who struggle?
  4. How will you make adaptations that acknowledge Dr. Tarte’s assumptions?
  5. Does the student need assistance from a parent/sibling to complete this assignment? If so, is the parent/sibling available?
  6. How will you mark the homework and provide feedback?
  7. How will your feedback enhance student learning?
  8. Is there a consequence of consistently incomplete homework? If so, what is the consequence?
  9. How will you use student results to inform your instruction?
  10. Is there an option for the parent/guardian to comment on his/her child’s level of engagement and/ or difficulty?
  11. Is there an option for the parent to “opt out” of homework?

For more professional conversations about education, please visit:Beyond the Apple . . . Reframing Conversations in Education or contact us at

About Beyond The Apple

Beyond the Apple provides everything a Professional Learning Community needs! Designed to follow Beyond the Apple's Tenets of Adult Education, our videos re-ignite the excitement of professional conversations among educators in the classroom, university, colleges and professional training. Our free teaching and learning resources provide a follow up with more information that is current, research based and practical.
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