Principal Phil Winston is currently discussing a new homework policy  that would make all homework optional.

Although Winston has brought up the idea for a new system of homework with students, he has yet to discuss the issue with Education Council.

If this system were implemented, students would not be penalized for missing credit on homework.  This includes late or missing assignments or getting a score that is less than the student’s current average grade in the class.

Although there is no time frame for when the school would be able to take on this new system, principal Phillip Winston is hoping that he can make headway on putting the new system into place.

“[The administration has] not thought deeply into the subject, but there is a little more to [the new system] then just no homework, such as the purpose of homework and the quality of students homework,” Winston said.

Winston is hoping to look at other models of the system and use them to help create a similar system at Paly.  There are many other schools around the country that use the system of optional homework and even teachers at Paly that are already using the system.  Physics teacher Keith Geller uses a similar system in his classes to the one that Winston is trying implement.

Geller’s system allows students to turn in all of the homework for the unit on the day of the test.

After reviewing the student’s work, if the grade is lower than their overall grade, the homework will not be added to the books, although if the homework helps the student, it will be added to their grade.

“[Geller’s] idea of homework never counting against students whether they do it or not is a terrific model,” Winston said.

While optional homework may benefit some students, others oppose implementing the new system.

Junior Alex Fang has raised concerns that if students did have optional homework, many might not do any work and have more trouble in class.

“I don’t think [optional homework] is a good idea.” Fang said.  “The system still needs some kind of structure. Nobody will do optional homework and students will get behind.”

While some students are very skeptical of the idea and believe that in the long run it would hurt students, others feel more positively about the idea, although they do still believe that some students would suffer from the new system.

“Yes [Paly should implement the system],” senior Miles Kool said.  “Although it would negatively impact most student’s grades, it would also force those that truly wanted to do well to motivate themselves and thus succeed more.”

If the system is put into place, Winston hopes that the entire school, and all teachers will comply with the new policy.

“I prefer that all adjustments are campus wide.” Winston said.  “If they are, things just run much more smoothly.”

Although there is still no determined date for the change in policy, Winston hopes to work out the issues in the possible system by talking with teachers and students, and to implement the best possible system for the school.

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