RCSD eliminates homework grade



Above, teacher Darcee Durham speaks to her science classes. Durham believes homework should contribute to overall grades to hold students accountable. Below, a student works on an assignment in class. With the new RCSD grading policy, homework and other “learning behaviors” will be evaluated seperately to overall grades.


This year, Roseville City School District switched to a new grading policy for evaluating middle school students in which academic grades will be based entirely on summative scores that reflect student learning, including tests and projects.

Other learning behaviors, including homework completion, will be rated separately on a scale of rarely, sometimes or consistently completed. This means that homework will not factor into grading.

RCSD serves as a primary feeder district for RJUHSD schools, including Roseville High School. In the transition from middle school to high school students will now also undergo a transition in grading practices.

According to assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Jess Borjon, RJUHSD has no specific policies as for the weight attributed to different types of assignments in classrooms, though in 2018 the district did develop a grading guidebook to serve as a “best practice” guide for teachers.

In the development of this guidebook, RJUHSD looked into research around grading and assessment, including “mastery” learning, which would emphasize test and projects and minimize – or eliminate – the degree to which homework would factor into grades. This, however, is just a guideline and the district determined that requiring a certain approach, rather than suggesting one, would not work with the variety of content covered at a high school level.

“Questions around how a theater arts teacher might grade versus a science teacher would vary because the performance tasks required in each may look very different,” Borjon said. “We recognized there are many similarities when measuring acquisition of knowledge and skills across content areas, but we were not prepared to address the differences that also exist.”

Middle school courses have less variety in their structure, so it can be less difficult to conform to a particular grading policy. Teachers at Cooley Middle School within the RCSD school district, however, are now seeing the impact of the new policy on their students.


RCSD had already granted less weight to homework, weighting summative scores as 90 percent and formative as 10 percent the total grade. Cooley history teacher David Cales notices that giving less weight to homework can be detrimental to his students that do not have the intrinsic motivation to study material.

“Ever since the phase into things like formative, I have seen students who don’t have the study skills and the discipline to actually do things at home… struggle and not be ready to perform at a high level,” Cales said. “Accountability is very very important and one of the ways we keep students accountable is keeping them on track with what they do off campus.”

Because RJUHSD will still have grades for homework, incoming freshman will have to readjust to having homework affect their grades. Cooley science teacher Audrey Ball believes that students may start to see the correlation through studying and how it affects their grades in middle school, but those who do not will face a major change in high school.

“I think it’s going to be very difficult,” Ball said. “They might start making a connection, but it’s already hard with grades for students to see that studying affects their grades. I think it might be a big reality check once students get to highschool and it does start to matter.”

At RHS, science teacher Darcee Durham believes the contribution of homework to the overall grade is a necessary motivator for students in her classes.

“Well honestly I think homework holds students accountable to make sure they are getting those concepts,” Durham said. “They might not otherwise practice.”

Though integrated math teacher Paul Stewart already sees the impact of not doing homework on students within his classes, where homework does not significantly impact the overall grade.

“The kids need to participate to be good on the tests,” Stewart said. “The homework is already only ten percent of the grade, but the students who don’t do the homework always do worse.”