The Bay School of San Francisco

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The Bay School defines the rigor of our academic program by the depth and sophistication of the thinking we ask of students and the ways in which we ask them to express that thinking.

Rigor is not defined by the amount of homework assigned, and indeed, there is little evidence that the amount of work assigned equates to the amount learned. There is substantial evidence, however, of the deleterious effects of too much work: not enough sleep, reduced retention levels, avoidance behaviors and students who come to see learning as a burden rather than a joy. Therefore, Bay teachers are especially careful to assign outside work that is meaningful and purposeful, and never superfluous. Our rotating block schedule and our academic calendar are specifically designed so that our students spend more time and accomplish more work inside the classroom. 

9th-graders should expect 1.5 hours of homework per week in most courses and 2 hours per week for their Humanities course. Older students are typically assigned 2 hours of homework per week in most courses, and 2.5 hours per week for courses that carry a Humanities designation. Honors courses assign more homework: 1 hour per class meeting, for a total of 3 hours per week for most courses.

In recognition of the value of diversity and variety in education, homework assignments at Bay take any number of forms:
  • a nightly skills-practice assignment
  • a written response to a reading or to a new idea presented in class
  • a careful reading and annotation of a primary source text, a section from a novel, or a textbook chapter
  • a problem set, where students spend several nights wrestling with new types of problems
  • a project asking students to present a key idea from the course in their own words, their own way, or in a new mode
  • a paper where students are asked to apply course material to a real-world problem
  • a piece of creative prose, poetry, artwork, or musical composition
  • a research project where, over weeks or months, students gather resources, craft an argument and defend their argument with carefully selected evidence
"The homework and the in-class work balances out perfectly...I'm free just the right amount of time, and I'm also working just the right amount of time. It's very consistent, too, so I can expect what I will get."
- River '18

Watch more of River's thoughts on homework here.