Math Teacher Doesn't Grade Homework???

Updated on February 04, 2019
G.K. asks from Williamsburg, VA
17 answers

My middle school daughter's math teacher gives hard-copy homework every so often. Since my daughter has really been struggling with just that subject, I've done a deeper dive into what is going on at school. Turns out the teacher literally glances at everyone's homework to make sure there's writing on the page. That's it. My daughter has just been making her best guess by filling in the blanks with often nonsensical answers. Of course, now I'll be much more diligent about focusing on her math homework, but I'm wondering if this practice is normal?

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answers from Anchorage on

Yes it is normal, but they usually then they run through it and the answers in class so the kids can check their own work and make sure they understand.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

One post asked if teacher doesn't look at homework how would teacher know if student understands.

Teacher, student, parent would know when student takes tests. Learning also happens in class. Unless homework is part of the final grade, it doesn't need to be graded.

Talk with the teacher to learn how homework fits into the whole learning picture. You've only seen a very small part of learning

I wonder if your daughter is using this as an excuse for not doing the homework or getting a low grade.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Every school and teacher is different. Some see homework as just practice/review and only grade tests/quizzes. By middle school kids are expected to go to the teacher if they don't understand something BEFORE being graded. It's true not all kids care about grades but if yours does you should make sure she is advocating for help when she needs it. And of course follow up with the teacher yourself to make sure your child was heard.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

One of the math teachers in our middle school makes all homework optional. What he tells the kids is that if they need more practice, then they should do it. If they have trouble doing it because they really don't understand, they should come to him and ask for help with it. If they are sure they completely understand the concept and they don't need practice, they don't have to do the homework. On the other hand, if they didn't do the homework and then they fail the test because they didn't really understand the concept, well, those are the natural consequences. It's all about teaching kids to take responsibility for their own success/failure. He believes that middle school is the best time to learn this (they are old enough to learn this concept but also if they do fail, it's not yet hurting their high school QPA for college applications).

Maybe that is what your child's math teacher is trying to do too.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Yes, it's common.
A lot of the time homework is just busy work.
It's fine if you need practice but if you already know it it just gets repetitive and time consuming.
Starting in middle school some of our sons teachers would do homework spot checks - they'd just check to see if it was done and not see if it was done correctly.
For our son this wasn't a problem - math is his thing.

But for some of his classmates this would result as doing poorly on quizzes and tests.
The point is - if a kid is having a problem - the kid should be asking the teacher for help and/or staying after school for study sessions.
They aren't suppose to sit there passively when they don't understand something.

Starting in middle school the teachers begin to back off on holding their hands.
High school they do it even less and they don't do it at all in college.
You can't (or shouldn't) be holding their hands either.
They NEED to learn to take control of their learning process.

To get the ball rolling you and your child and the teacher need to have a conference - and you need to encourage your child to speak up and ask for help.
They need to learn to do it early and often - because waiting often just causes the problems to snowball and get worse.

There will be other subjects, other teachers - your child needs to learn now how to deal with this.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think homework is a tough thing. For some, it's busy work. For others, it's useful practice. In middle school, if a teacher has 5 classes of 20+ students, that's at least 100 pages to correct PER NIGHT. That gets in the way of lesson plans, professional development, emails to parents, after school help, and a whole lot more. It used to take me forever, and I taught in a smaller school with fewer students per class.

While this teacher don't do it often, it may be as a way to get the kids to look at the material at home or a review when getting to the end of a chapter or unit. And, the teacher may be assuming that the kid will figure out if she needs help, and ask for it. If the kids aren't even looking at it at home, the teacher knows that the kid either understands it completely or isn't particularly motivated.

By middle school, kids should be communicating with teachers directly. That means speaking up if they don't understand, going for extra help either after school or during a study period (if they have one and the teacher is open at the same time), or working with teacher and guidance counselor to find some tutoring.

Instead of doing deep dives with other families or however you're getting your info, why not email the teacher and either ask for a conference or ask how you can better support your daughter? If there's a conference, go together. But start with an email so the teacher knows what you have on your mind before a meeting.

I have found, both as a teacher and a parent, that things go more smoothly if the adults approach it as a team. It's perfectly fine for you to ask what the school policy is and what the goal is with written work, and what the teacher's expectations are.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Your daughter is in middle school. She’s not a first grader. She knows better then to do homework with nonsensical answers. She knows that she needs to learn how to do the work. She sits in class all day, where the goal is learning. It is not the teacher‘s responsibility to make her do this. It’s her responsibility.

Instead of blaming the teacher, why aren’t you having a fit with your daughter? She should lose privileges. You need to be letting her have it. The only point to the homework is for her to be ready for the test. The teacher has already taught the lesson. She is supposed to use the homework to prepare. If she doesn’t get the lesson, she is supposed to tell the teacher. At the very least, she should tell you so that you can tell HER to tell the teacher.

First, straighten your attitude out, and then straighten her out. High school is coming. You don’t get to do this with all the teachers in high school. Make your daughter take responsibility for herself. And realize where you should stand, and it’s not against the teachers. All you are doing is fueling your daughter’s laziness and an entitlement attitude. If she doesn’t have an attitude problem, if she just hasn’t learned to stand up for herself, then teach her now.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think it’s common though I think our teachers went over the homework so the students knew if they did it right or wrong. I don’t expect teachers to grade all homework. That would be incredibly time consuming and they already don’t get paid enough. By middle school I think the goal is practice and showing the kids what they do or don’t understand and then the child needs to follow up on what they don’t. I’m lucky my kids are really diligent but if they weren’t, then I’d be checking every night. If I couldn’t do that and my child wasn’t keeping up, I’d have to get a tutor. Stinks but I think that’s the deal now. One of mine went to private middle so I was paying that way. Another one goes to public but they do have after school homework club where some help is offered. Maybe your school has that too. The public also makes huge use of Kahn Academy online. Seems to work pretty well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I guess even if it is "normal" the bigger question is "is it OK." In my opinion? No. However, before I threw the teacher under the bus, I would be asking him or her exactly what the purpose is for doing this. If it has some credibility, then back it up at home. If not, work with the school to change the policy by attending parent meetings/conferences/and school board meetings.

Honestly, I think many schools have gone to he** in the nearly 30 years I've been dealing with them. I mostly blame the parents - every parent seems to want to be so hands off (not saying you are) with their child's education citing that the "school is responsible." No, PARENTS are responsible for the quality of education that any given school is providing.

Ok, rant over. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Our school district just implemented the no grades for homework rule this year for middle school. No clue why, it was just conveyed to us by the teachers at back to school night. None seemed very happy about it. Many stopped giving homework entirely because they said with no incentive (grades), the kids won't do it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Don't get me started ....

Yes this practice is typical. It took me forever to realize (like you) that this is what was happening. By high school, it's terrible.

My kids told me, if you care, you'll ask the teacher, but if you're like most students, you let it go (when I asked how do you know if your homework is right?).

The kids stopped doing homework.

I don't even think half the time they had homework (hard copy). I couldn't even follow how they were assigned work. It seemed to be done in class ... but they didn't seem to really even practice what they were being taught.

By high school, I found a retired high school math teacher (recommended by the guidance counselor!) who dislikes the way math is being taught now. He goes through the homework questions one on one.

ETA: Read my Mynewnickname wrote. Now that makes sense. I went to every parent teacher conference/meeting and never heard that. I did hear (high school level) that you could do extra questions if you want to make 90s and above.

I think those kinds of expectations should be made clear at the start of the year. I do think (agree) that's a valuable lesson and good to learn early on.

I should add - I don't expect them to check that kids are doing their homework or to go over it in class if kids are having a hard time. We have extra help and I would expect my kids to go in (and they have) and we help out, and that's what tutors are for. What bugs me is if they do assign homework (not often), then they don't go over it - period. So the kids have no idea if their answers are correct. Unless the answers are in the back of the book, the don't know if they got the problems right. That's what drives me nuts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I taught a basic math class at the college level. I assigned homework (every other question had answers in the book and I posted the other answers on an overhead the beginning of each class)
Each student was responsible for grading their own homework, then I had them turn it in and I gave them credit for doing it - as long as they showed their work. Homework was a portion of their grade, but it wasn't weighted very high. The vast majority of their grade came from in-class tests (some were open book for formulas and tables) and work in class. Math is one of those subjects where homework is necessary to really grasp it (in my opinion).
Overall, it didn't take me a lot of time. Perhaps you could suggest that to the teacher.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

No, most teachers grade each question and then good teachers have the kids correct each one they got wrong as well. Your daughter is too old to fill in nonsensical answers! If she doesn't understand she needs to ask for help or go to tutoring after school. If I were her parent I would be checking her math homework each night and going over it to make sure she is really doing it. Youtube gives tutorials on every kind of son had to use this as a resource some in middle school. If she doesn't understand she has to put in the effort to learn how to do it and then put in the effort to do each problem...this takes time. Once she starts understanding then homework will go easier for her. Sign her up for tutoring if you think she needs it. PS - I agree with others that this is her responsibility and not to place blame on the teacher. It sucks she has teacher who is lazy about grading but sometimes this happens. It is still up to her to make sure she understands how to do her math. She obviously knows she's not really trying when she puts down nonsensical answers!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

sounds like your school is in the process of phasing out homework (a sensible step for the most part.)

is it really your daughter's 'best guess' if she's putting down nonsensical answers?

if this were my kid i'd have her do the work and check it myself if she and i both felt she needed some reinforcement and extra practice.

if not, i'd go to the teacher and tell her why i was not going to have my daughter spend time on what's clearly busywork.

i would NOT go along with the 'just glance at it' paradigm of the teacher, or the 'fudge it' attitude of the kid.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Yes, some schools do it in elementary, others in middle school. They pretty much don't ever check homework in high school, or may check it randomly, which is why it's a good idea to do it anyway. All teachers are different though, some do check homework, like Spanish class worksheets, to make sure you not only know the answer, but proper spelling or grammar. The "never checking homework" thing is not true for things like essays, writing assignments, or projects, though. Those are always checked, and graded.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I have a problem with a teacher who doesn’t grade homework. Also, with one who doesn’t properly assess our children before they test them. Is the work being discussed in the classroom? Have you ever been in the class to observe the teacher? I am so disappointed with the way children are being taught in school these days that I have started homeschooling my grandchildren. I know that your child’s teacher is certified but is she qualified?



answers from Detroit on

Starting in middle school, my kids' teacher starting posting solutions to their math homework online. The kids are expected to do their homework and check it themselves. Some teachers will pick a couple of problems to look over and grade, some just look to see if homework is done and others don't check the homework at all. Some give credit for homework and others don't. Most (probably all) of the teachers have time for questions about homework at the beginning of class.

The kids are responsible for doing their homework and for checking it. They are also responsible for asking for help if needed. (If they aren't getting correct answers or are just copying the solutions, the kids know they need help.) In middle school and high school, all of their teachers offer extra help before and/or after school multiple days each week. The schools also have math lab available during lunch for help. The kids are responsible for asking for help though. This is harder for some kids than for others, but it's something they all need to learn to do. And sometimes asking for help required a lot of encouragment (or even an email to the teacher) from mom and dad.

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