Independent Practice Overview

In our effort to provide the most progressive education to our students, we have replaced "homework" with "independent practice," which studies have shown supports the implementation of strategies that will foster independent learning.   
During the school year, students are given assignments that are to be completed independently at home.  The design of independent practice is to have our students shift their thinking from one of turning in work for a grade to turning in work that will give them the feedback needed to be a more skilled student.

At Newmark High School, IP is assigned on a nightly basis. We are sensitive to the impact of "homework"  on family and respect the value of family time.  We encourage students and parents to communicate challenges students face in completing independent practice.  Newmark also believes that the successful use of independent practice to support learning is not dependent upon the amount of time taken with homework but the degree to which it:

• Engages students
• Connects to the students’ individual abilities
• Links to the work undertaken in class

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Q.
    Why is it important for my child to do Independent Practice (IP)?

    What we want is to develop and refine intellectual skills – but when students don’t do IP, they may not perfect math skills, may not read as well, or may lack depth of knowledge for future learning.

    What we want is to develop independent learners – but when students don’t do IP, they may fail to develop independent strategies and may not experience the sense of pride that comes from completing work independently.
    What we want is to nurture within students an identity of a successful learner – but when students don’t do IP they may have trouble keeping up in class, may receive failing grades, and may lose confidence in their ability to learn.
  • Q.
    What are the purposes of IP?

    To check whether the student understands a concept or skill.
    To practice a skill learned in class (like reading, math).
    To preview something they will learn in class soon.
    To review for a test or quiz.
  • Q.
    How much IP should my child have?  

    Research recommends “the 10-minute rule” per grade level for all subjects. At Newmark, these will be the maximum time allotments:
    1st-4th – 30 minutes; 5-6th – 40 minutes; 7th-8th – 60 minutes; NHS – 120 minutes
    IP will not be given over long holiday breaks. Students may choose to work on long-term assignments during that time
  • Q.
    Will IP be graded?

    No. IP will only be used as feedback and formative assessment. It will be checked for completion, effort and accuracy. A completion percentage will be noted on the Report Card. IP may be submitted later as per teacher discretion. Also, teachers may require any incomplete IP to be made up during a particular class period. If a child is going to be absent for an extended period of time (illness, vacation), the principal must be contacted to determine the level of IP given.
  • Q.
    Is IP a part of Newmark’s Behavior Modification System?

    IP will not affect academic points in school. Teachers and counselors will work with parents to develop a separate IP behavior plan if necessary.
  • Q. What are parents encouraged to do?

    Ask their child about what they are studying in school
    Ask their child to show them any Independent Practice assignments
    Assist their child in organizing Independent Practice materials
    Help their child formulate a plan for completing Independent Practice
    Provide an appropriate space for their child to do Independent Practice
    Parents May:
    Help their child interpret assignment directions
    Proofread their child’s work, pointing out errors
    Real aloud required reading to their child
    Practice-quiz their child to help them prepare for tests
    Help their child brainstorm ideas for papers or projects
    Praise their child for completing Independent Practice
    Parents Should Not:
    Attempt to teach their child concept or skills the child is unfamiliar with
    Complete assignments for their child
    Allow their child to sacrifice sleep to complete Independent Practice
  • Q.
    How can I assist my child in completing IP and how much should I help?

    • Explain to your child why Independent Practice is Important
    • Talk with your child about your expectations
    • Help your child with organization
    • Empower your child to take ownership of the homework process
    • Rethink your child’s schedule of outside activities.
    • Monitor, but don’t hover or micromanage
    • Ask to see/don’t correct/send note to teacher if needed
    • Jump in when frustration builds – before “meltdown” stage
    • Praise the Effort
  • Q.
    What is good IP?

    Good IP has a clear academic purpose (not busy work)
    Good IP is well-organized, easy to understand, not overly tedious.