Stress Survey Results

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Stress Survey Results

Rachel Stanley

Rachel Stanley

Rachel Stanley

Rachel Stanley, Reporter

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Pres girls are known for many positive things, such as plaid skirts, a love of bread, messy buns and an enthusiasm for community service. However, one negative that most students find characteristic of our school is our heavy homework load – something reflected in the results of our recent Challenge Success Stanford Survey of Adolescent School Experiences.

In fact, according to Vice Principal of Student Services Susan Mikacich, “Our students reported doing more homework than they usually see.”

But what does that actually mean? According to the survey results, the average Pres girl takes anywhere from 3.15 to 4.28 hours to complete her homework. Admittedly, while we are doing this, a good portion of us are listening to music, talking, texting or are on social networking sites.

However, the general consensus among students when we look at these numbers is that they seem fairly accurate. But we all know that students like to complain and moan about the amount of work they have to do – regardless of whether or not it actually takes that long. So does Presentation actually assign more homework than other schools?

According to transfer students, absolutely.

Junior Renuka Garg transferred from Wilcox High School to Presentation as a sophomore. And she claimed that the difference in homework was immediately noticeable.

“At Wilcox, homework rarely took me more than three hours to complete,” she said. “And we had seven classes every day.” She also said that they were required to do far less work outside of class and were “given a lot more time for large assignments, such as projects.”

“I was not used to having five hours of homework a night between three or four classes,” she continued. “After a few months, however, I got used to the workload, so it eventually became manageable.”

According to the study, Garg would have been averaging almost four hours of homework a night for only three to four classes when she transferred – a serious change from a maximum of three hours for seven classes.

Another junior, Adriana Neimeyer, transferred from Saint Lawrence High School for the second semester of her freshman year. She also attended seven classes a day.

“The homework amount every night was the same, but at Saint Lawrence it was homework for seven classes versus homework for three or four classes,” she explained, and went on to say that “the school I left was insanely easy compared to Presentation. There was a lot less homework.”

In the context of Presentation’s statistics, Neimeyer would have been averaging a little over three hours of homework a night for just her three or four classes as a freshman. At Saint Lawrence, she would have spent the same amount of time on her assignments – but for seven classes.

Senior Hanna Gratny also transferred to Pres from Leland High School at the beginning of her sophomore year. She provided some of the same feedback as Garg and Neimeyer.

“Pres is nice because we have block scheduling so we only have three to four classes to do homework for each day, whereas at Leland I had six classes every single day,” she explained in an email. “Even with six classes worth of homework I had a smaller quantity of work at Leland, usually no more than two and a half hours a night.”

However, Gratny also said that she thinks “it’s all very relative and depends on a lot of factors…sophomore year at Pres I had a minimum of four hours a night, but I also took much harder classes than I did freshman year (APUSH, three other honors classes, etc.).”

However, not everyone struggled with adapting to Presentation’s workload.

Nithya Deepak, another Junior, is also a transfer student. She came to Pres from Monta Vista High School at the beginning of her sophomore year.

“I found the homework load around the same in both schools,” she said, going on to point out that both “have an environment where academics are highly valued, and challenging yourself is a must.” Monta Vista has a unique bell system in which their number of classes varies anywhere from seven to three classes a day.

On the whole, though, the amount of homework Pres students have compared to other high schools is undoubtedly higher. But why?

According to the stress survey results, students feel that 33% of the homework teachers assign is busy work. Additionally, less than half of the student body reported that they worked hard on their schoolwork and found it meaningful.

This points to a fault in the system of determining what busy work actually is. If 33% of our homework is in fact busy work, getting rid of it would decrease the time spent on homework overall – probably to more “normal” levels.

But that is not to say that we don’t like our teachers who are assigning this busy work. In fact, on a five-point scale, Pres teachers overall averaged a 4.02 in terms of care and support of their students. Essentially, we love our teachers, but at the same time we complain about how they are killing us with homework.

This may be because of extra credit opportunities, banana bread or the fact that our teachers are overall really nice and understanding people. But the fact remains that students feel like they can have an open dialogue with their teachers, yet they apparently do not use it.

Aside from the failed homework survey in November, students feel as though they have not had the opportunity to express what homework assignments they could do without. However, it seems that they will get a second chance in the near future.

“Moving forward this spring we will be conducting another homework survey with students to gauge where students are with homework,” Mikacich said when asked about Pres’ homework problem. “We value students’ participation in the survey and their honest feedback when completing the survey so the data gathered is meaningful and useful.”

 

 

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