Chicago Public Schools Homework Policy Middle School

Homework Policy


The Chicago Board of Education has mandated a homework policy for all grade levels. Studying and independent readings, as well as, written assignments are a part of daily homework. Some homework assignments are not written.

Students are expected to go over daily class work and return homework assignments on time, every day. While students may not receive a written assignments at all times, they should study, review, and read materials of their choice on an on-going basis.

Additionally, a reading mandate appears on the 1st through 8th grade report card. CPS students are required to read a minimum of 25 books per school year. While we can monitor some of this reading in school, we rely on our parents to insure that their child reads daily. Students are held accountable for the number of books read, and is reflected on their report card in conjunction with their reading grade.


​If a student is caught copying and/or sharing homework assignment or related assignments, all parties involved will receive a zero grade and appropriate disciplinary action. The only exception to this is if the students are working on a Group Assignment.

If homework is not properly labeled by the student, especially missing the student’s name, the homework will be treated as “not turned in”

  • When a child is absent from school for an excused reason, they have a day, for each day absent, to make up their work.
  • Students who miss more than one day of school will receive a homework schedule that the teacher will create and send home to the parents.
  • When a child is absent for an unexcused reason, they are not able to make up homework assignments and a grade of zero will be given to such student for the missed homework.
  • Teachers will follow the Board of Education Policy on absences in making their determinations as to excused or unexcused absence.
  • If a child is absent from class because of a school related event, they are responsible to ascertain what assignments were given and to complete the work on time.
  • Students in regular attendance who have not turned in homework on time will have their grade lowered by:
    1. Primary grades Pre-K to third - - 10%
    2. Middle grades, 4th to 5th - - 20%
    3. Upper grades, 6th to 8th - - 30%
  • Each day the homework is turned in late.
  • Thirty percent the following day and a zero after that. The original grade as well as the reduced grade will be reflected on the paper with an explanation of why the grade was reduced
  • If a child fails to make up homework they will receive a grade of zero for the work.
  • Students will not be allowed to return to their locker to retrieve homework. Such homework will be considered late and treated as such when turned in.
  • Students are not allowed to make up missed homework assignments in order to improve their grade; especially before marking periods.
  • If homework is reviewed in class, no late homework will be accepted for that assignment.
Kindergarten Homework Policy:
  • Homework should be done every day for 30 minutes. Parents are to decide how to break up the 30 minutes (ex: 10 minutes reading, 10 minutes, writing, 10 minutes Compass Learning, etc.) to meet the needs of their child.
  • Homework must be done in pencil. Crayons may be used for any coloring.
  • One homework packet for language arts and one homework packet for math will be distributed to students on Mondays and due on Fridays. Homework must be turned in on time.
  • Book Reports will be given on Fridays and due on Mondays. Students are to read one book, write the title and author of the book. Draw a picture of your favorite part of the story and write a sentence about the story.
  • Students who have extended unexcused absences will not be able to turn in late work. A zero will be given to such student and will be factored in when computing final grades.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE HOMEWORK POLICY: Students who have an IEP or 504 accommodations in regards to homework are the only exceptions to the Prussing School Wide Policy. Teachers have to follow the student’s accommodations as listed in their IEP’s or 504’s.

  • Primary Grades Pre-k to 3rd -- Ten percent towards a child’s final grade.
  • Middle Grades 4th to 5th -- Twenty percent towards a child’s final grade.
  • Upper Grades 6th to 8th -- Twenty-five percent towards a child’s grade.


Exactly 30 years after then-Secretary of Education William J. Bennett labeled Chicago Public Schools the worst in the nation, new research shows that Windy City schools now lead the country in academic growth. 

A new study by Stanford University researchers Sean Reardon and Rebecca Hinze-Pifer tracked reading and math test score growth among public school students from 2009 to 2014. Across racial groups, the researchers found that Chicago students learned significantly faster from grades 3 to 8 than did students in nearly all other U.S. districts—gaining about six years' worth of learning in five years.

Moreover, there was evidence that incoming student cohorts were improving rapidly. At each of grades 3 through 8, Chicago students' test scores rose two-thirds of a grade level from 2009 to 2014, compared to the average national improvement of one-sixth of a grade level in those grades during that time. Black, Hispanic, and white students all showed that improvement. 

Altogether, only 4 percent of districts in the country—and none of the other 100 largest districts— have growth rates that high, Reardon noted. "Chicago is not just an outlier among large districts; it's an outlier among all 11,000 districts we can measure this for. It's a striking case," Reardon said.

Reardon and Hinze-Pifer analyzed Illinois state test scores in reading and math for Chicago and compared them to scores nationwide using a database of nationally comparable, district-level test data. They found Chicago students perform below the national average in reading and math, and white students in the city outperform black and Hispanic students by a full grade level on average. But they also found that the city has narrowed its national academic gap as well as some racial gaps. 

In 2008-09, Chicago 3rd graders scored about 1.4 grades below the national average in math and reading. By the time those 3rd graders got to 8th grade, they performed only .4 of a grade level—about half a school year— below the national average. That was 19 percent faster than the average national academic growth during that time. Hispanic students, who made up 45 percent of the school district during that time, grew 1.2 grade levels faster than the national average for all students, helping them close the achievement gap with white students by .4 of a grade level from grade 3 to 8.

Chicago's Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said the results mirror the districts' own analysis over the last five years, and "we're really excited to see these data reaffirmed on the national level."

Chi-Town Challenges

In the last decade, the 370,000-student Chicago district has been roiled by rising poverty, shrinking enrollment, and shifting racial demographics, but the researchers found the growth rate has been too fast for a changing student body to account for the improvement. The district does hold back about 5 percentage points more struggling students in grades 3 to 8 than other districts, but this could account for only about 1/20th of the difference in academic growth, according to the researchers. And while Chicago was under pressure to improve for federal and state accountability purposes, the researchers found that the improvements they noted on state tests mirrored the district's gains on the Trial Urban District Assessment, part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress that is not used for accountability.

"This is not driven by cheating or teaching to the test or gaming the system in some way," Reardon said. "I'm persuaded there really are impressive rates of learning in Chicago."

The researchers suggested the learning gains are likely coming from changes in the preschool and early elementary grades. "But the interesting question is, what is it that is happening in Chicago in the schools, in the city, in kids' early childhood that is leading to both the rapid growth rate from 3rd to 8th grade and the improvement from one cohort to the next. And what can we learn from that, ... for other school districts?" Reardon said.

CPS' Jackson suggested that the district's focus on expanding preschool attendance, improving professional development for elementary school principals, and aligning the district's curriculum have all played a role in the district's growth. Yet she also said competition from private and charter schools and clearer accountability standards have also helped boost achievement.

"I believe the level of transparency we have provided around what a quality school is has been transformational in this district," Jackson said.

Jackson said the district is looking to partner with more researchers interested in digging into district data to identify the cause of elementary and middle-school growth and how it might be replicated in other districts, as well as how academic growth is progressing in high schools, which were not part of the Stanford study.

Photo Source: Getty


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