Nova Scotia rolls out education changes, homework now assigned to all grades The previous ban on homework in P-3 grades across the province has been lifted New homework guidelines mean students from primary to Grade 12 will have better “consistency” across Nova Scotia, says the provincial education minister. Starting this fall, students in the earliest grades from primary to 3 will receive homework alongside older children, a move that does away with the previous ban on homework for P-3 grades. “[It’s] consistency so that all students in all schools … are following the same homework policy,” Karen Casey, education minister, told reporters at Burton Ettinger School Wednesday. “We are asking teachers to use their best professional judgement in what that is.” Casey said P-3 homework will likely be books children can read with their parents or math problems introduced in class that won’t be a huge time commitment but help “bridge the gap between school and home.” The new homework guidelines came out of the department’s Action Plan for Education that included consultation with teachers and a survey with 7,000 responses, Casey said. In previous years, Casey said there were different homework guidelines at a provincial and school board level that led to confusion about what teachers could assign. Now, Casey said homework should be material the students can do themselves and not need help from their parents to complete. “It’s practicing and reinforcing skills that students have already learned,” Casey said. Teachers pointed out getting work done at home is a challenge for some students, Casey said, so children won’t be penalized for unfinished work and it won’t count towards their grades. “It sets up the expectation that I would have for my students and creates something consistent that I can communicate with the parents,” said Michael MacDonald, vice-principal of Burton Ettinger School. Parents said they often don’t know what’s going on in the classroom, Casey said, so another change includes more communication coming home from teachers on a daily or weekly basis. Other changes from the Action Plan include a new curriculum for P-3 students with a stronger focus on math and literacy, hands-on learning to develop technology skills, math mentors, and workplace training to graduating students like WHMIS and labour relations.
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