Dear Teachers,

An AP Chemistry student working on her homework at her house. This homework takes up hours of her time at home with her family. (Photo by permission of Caroline Phillips)

Please keep giving us homework. It’s helpful. 

When given reasonable amounts of homework, we can appreciate its positive impacts. If there is a subject that we do not understand completely, homework can help us gain clarity on that material, especially if you make yourself available to help us with it. If we are expected to learn new material after school, please make yourself available to help us with it.

If we already understand the material we learned during class, homework can reinforce what we have learned so we don’t fall behind. Although practice doesn’t always make perfect, it can certainly help. For example, it is possible for us to forget how to do a math problem over the course of 24 hours. To prevent this, five math problems per night can allow us to keep up in the class.

Homework is also a good way to help our grades. When it comes to tests, projects, or essays, grades are unpredictable. When we have a doable amount of homework, we can rely on those grades to help us earn the final grade we want. 

On that note, make sure to be clear with instructions and expectations for homework. Almost all of us have been in a situation where we worked really hard on a homework assignment, just for the teacher to give us a failing grade on it because there was a lack of communication. If this is avoided, homework can be a good grade for us and help us feel like we are doing something right. 


The LRHS student body

Please do not keep giving us busywork

Homework is not effective and does it positively impact our learning. Because homework should simply be a reinforcement of material learned in class, there is no reason why we should have four hours of homework per night. 

If you are trying to teach us material  — not provide reinforcement — through homework, good luck; research shows that we will not actually learn anything when we have copious amounts of work to do after school. 

If you are unable to fit all of your material into 90 minutes of class, please do not punish us for it. We understand that the curriculum can occasionally work against you, and it is difficult to teach us everything you have to, but this should not be a problem that we suffer from and it is not effective. 

Bottom line: if you give us homework, limit it to half an hour. This number comes from the 10 minute rule for homework — suggested by experts and organizations such as the National Education Association. This rule starts first graders at ten minutes of homework and increases the time by ten minutes per grade level. By senior year, we should have 120 minutes of homework, which is 30 minutes per class. 

A decrease in homework will benefit you as well: you will have less work to grade, and less of us will dislike you. In fact, we will appreciate you. By giving us less homework, we will know that you value our education, mental health, and life outside of school. 

In addition to the uselessness of homework, it also burdens us who have a lot going on in our lives. We have extracurriculars, jobs, families, and friends that require our attention. When you pile unreasonable amounts of homework on us, we do not have time to tend to other parts of our life and take care of our physical and mental health. 


The LRHS student body


Please keep letting us do group work

I love group work because I love cooperative learning. Oftentimes, you assign work to students to complete by themselves. Working in groups gives us the chance to split up the work and take some of the stress of being a high school student. 

Having the chance to talk to different people and hear different opinions is beneficial. I have the chance to look at problems from a new view, which broadens my perspective. In a group situation, we can attempt tasks that could not be accomplished individually. Groups combine a variety of skills and expertise to tackle more complex and larger scale problems.

Group work is also highly relevant in the workspace. When I grow up, I have a job environment where I will have to collaborate with my coworkers. It is common sense: Group work advances my organization, communication, teamwork, analysis, and leadership skills — all qualities my future employer will look for. 

My friend loves group work because he is the kid who sits back and pushes his work onto his other group members. He does not even have to participate and will still earn the same grade as those who did all the work. As an average C student, it is very helpful to him to receive an A towards his overall grade without having to put in any effort. 

Overall, group work is amazing and should be woven into your lesson plans more often. 


The LRHS Student Body

Please stop making us work together

Our grade shouldn’t depend on someone else doing their part. If my section of the project deserved an A, and my partner carelessly did their part and turned it in late, we should both get a C? According to the WCPSS policy, “students’ grades can’t be limited by other students”, so teachers should be grading based on the work of each individual student and not the outcome of the entire project.  

Besides the completely unfair grading system, if teachers create the groups, we rarely work with people who are good to work with. Either there is someone who is controlling and unnecessarily becomes the leader or there are a bunch of slackers who don’t do any of the work. Plus, now you have to pretend to like a bunch of people you rarely talk to. 

And if you want to know how many times I’ve had a good group to work with, count the hairs on the palm of your hands (respectfully). 

Group work also limits our creativity. No one can seem to agree if we want to do a slide presentation vs. a Prezi Presentation, using green text vs. blue, or “Alfa Slab One” vs. “Bree Serif” font. This causes the project to not come out bland and unliked by most of the group. 

Basically, what we’re trying to say: Few like group work (unless you don’t do your work) — it’s unfair and frustrating. Most of the time our projects would be 10x better if we could work alone. That way we don’t have to worry about getting together to work on it, having a bad group, and agreeing on different aspects of the project.

If you could, please assign less group work, that would give everyone more control over their work and less stress about whose doing what part. 


The LRHS Student Body

Please keep giving us multiple-choice tests

I know there are arguments against multiple-choice tests: They are not representative of students’ knowledge or it is all luck. I disagree with these arguments strongly.

Multiple-choice tests are the easiest way to get an A. There’s one definitive answer if you know the content. Unlike free-response questions, multiple-choice questions are more objective, which keeps the answer from many to one. Therefore, all I need to do is memorize the notes and textbook to earn an “A”. 

Multiple-choice tests give me a 20% or 25% of a correct answer I may not get with an open note test. Sometimes when I half study or am on the edge of an A, I need that cushion to help me succeed.

Please keep giving us multiple choice questions because they are my strength. If you get rid of it, all of the questions will be free responses, and I cannot think of an answer. I find it more difficult to create and critically think about the answer to a free response question than a multiple choice question.

So, teachers of Leesville do not listen to the usual naysayers. As they said, you hear it every year, but you trust your judgment and keep multiple-choice tests. You know what is right and what is wrong for us.


The LRHS Student Body


Please stop making us memorize for no reason

Multiple-choice questions do not accurately measure my understanding of the subject. They measure my memory for something I will not remember when I finish the test or use later in life when I am 25 or 50. 

We sure do not use multiple choice tests after high school. In fact, freshman college students who went to Leesville admit that their final exams are not multiple choice. So, we try to conquer multiple-choice tests for 13 years, and then it is not even used in an academic setting in college? What’s the point?

Multiple choice is very much luck-based. It is possible to guess your way to limited success. That’s not an equitable situation, which goes against Leesville’s mission statement of providing a “relevant, engaging, and equitable education” to its students, does it not? 

A valid criticism of those who like multiple-choice tests is that if we throw away multiple-choice tests, what about standardized tests like the ACT or SAT? 

Unlike regular multiple-choice tests created in school, the ACT and SAT are made with the intent to make us think critically. Just compare your average LRHS multiple choice test to an old ACT multiple-choice exam, and you will see the difference. 

Those standardized tests are what school tests should be doing: testing my abilities for the real world. In the real world I will not be using y=mx+b in any capacity. I will need valuable skills like problem solving and critical thinking in anything I do when I am older. 

And to think, teachers most likely hear this complaint every year and keep making the same mistakes by giving us these tests. Hopefully, this time is different, and you guys will listen and move towards better assessing practices.


The LRHS Student Body


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