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What Canada's school boards say about kids and homework

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Toronto District School Board

The TDSB's policy states that homework should not be assigned to kindergarten students, nor should it be assigned on holidays. For students in Grades 1 to 6, homework should be "differentiated to reflect the unique needs of the child." In early grades, any homework should take the form of reading, playing games and interactive activities, such as building and cooking with the family. For students in Grades 7 and 8, completion time for homework should be an hour or less. In Grades 9 to 12, homework should have an estimated completion time of two hours. Moreover, the policy states "effective homework assignments" need to be based on the curriculum, should be given feedback, should require no additional teaching outside the classroom, and do not require resources or technology to which students may not have access.

English Montreal School Board The EMSB does not specify how much homework should be assigned, so the amount can vary wildly. But general guidelines say homework tasks should be given regularly, and it "shall be appropriate to the students' level of achievement and shall reflect the specific needs of individual students or groups of students." It also notes the capacity for students to handle homework increases as they advance. Michael Cohen, the board's communications and marketing specialist, said the onus is on parents to research the school whose academic expectations best suit their children.

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Calgary Board of Education The CBE recommends that students in Grades 1 to 3 not be given formal assignments, but recommends five to 10 minutes of systematic study a night, mostly involving reading. For students in Grades 4 to 6, teachers may use their discretion, but assignments should focus on reading and should not exceed 20 minutes. Students in Grades 7 to 9 are expected to study 30 minutes to an hour a night. Grade 10 students are expected to do 11/2 hours a night; those in Grades 11 and 12 are expected to do two hours a night. "While the Board is anxious to promote the supportive role of the home in the child's education, it is anxious at the same time not to interfere with the child's pursuit of other wholesome non-school interests of educational, cultural, or recreational value," the policy states.

Vancouver School Board

The VSB's policy was last updated in 1994, and is currently under review. It states that no formal homework should be assigned to children from kindergarten to Grade 3, and students in Grades 4 to 7 should devote no more than 30 minutes a day to homework. Students in Grades 8 to 10 should do no more than one hour; Grades 10 to 12 should devote no more than two hours. As of press time, school board officials were not able to say whether the new policy would change the amount of recommended homework time.

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