Sweat dribbles down your forehead as you take a peek at the cheat sheet taped to the inside of your water bottle. Your teacher striped you of all electronic devices: Apple watches, iPhones and iPads are all stowed away in your clear backpack. But even without technology there are hundreds of devious yet ingenious ways to cheat. However, the stakes are high –a trip to the dean’s office, an unrecoverable zero on a test, dismissal from NHS and, worst of all, the embarrassment of being publicly shamed. Unlike tests, cheating your way through homework remains far easier than most care to admit. At any moment you’re a short google search away from MathWay or a Quizlet set with all the correct answers straight from a solutions manual. You copy down the answers, scribble a few notes on the side on the page and turn it in, earning a 100% for the assignment.
At one point or another, we have all been in a class where the teacher casually handed out a worksheet to complete for homework. Around this same time, a student raises his/her hand and asks if the teacher grades based on completion, to which the teacher replies, “It shouldn’t matter.” Although I believe most people can agree on the logic behind this statement (wanting students to try their best regardless of the resulting grade) I also believe that most students can relate to the impending doom that settles in when receiving a response like this. The difference between knowing if the teacher grades homework based on accuracy or not is simple. It lets students know if they should prioritize getting the right answer or focus on learning the concepts regardless of how successful they are. While ideally, we should promote an environment that encourages students to do their best on every assignment, doing so by ranking their progress on how correct their answers are means sacrificing their drive to learn for their drive to succeed, thus making cheating all the more popular.
However, many people still believe that completion grades are an unfair representation of a student’s work ethic. Sophomore Serena Saul expressed the opinion of many students when she said, “I think homework being a completion grade isn’t that good because people who try really hard and put in extra work get the same grade as people who barely try.” On the contrary, completion grades teach students the importance of completing tasks that will not always have direct and immediate impacts. Everytime an accuracy grade makes its way onto a homework assignment, we fortify the idea that work only has validity when there is a grade attached to it. With this mentality, the main objective of learning in school is too often disregarded.
Homework should be a completion grade as homework graded for accuracy promotes cheating and creates an unhealthy learning environment.