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Limiting total work time for student balance

At ICS, work is divided into "synchronous" and "asynchronous" activities. Synchronous work is done together with classmates and teachers (direct teacher instruction, class discussion, group work, etc.). Asynchronous work is done by students independently, either during the class period or as homework.
In addition to students' work during the 60 minute class period, they may be assigned up to 20 minutes of asynchronous work to be completed outside of class, or 40 minutes for Honors and AP level courses. Additional work may not be assigned on days when classes drop.

This means a maximum of 80- or 100- minutes of work per day when a class meets.

Sample student course load:
  • Pre-Calculus
  • History
  • AP Literature
  • Latin 2
  • Art Foundations
  • Computer Science
  • AP Physics
On Tuesday, that student has Pre-Calculus, AP Literature, Latin 2, and Computer Science.

Total class time: 60 minutes x 4 = 4 hours

Total asynchronous homework time: 20 minutes x 3 (Pre-Calc, Latin, Comp Sci) + 40 minutes (AP Literature) = 1 hour, 40 minutes

Total school work time: 5 hours, 40 minutes

*Exceptions to the asynchronous work time limit may be given for tests announced at least 10 days in advance and major assessments including projects and essays.

Why do we do this? It's about balance.
There's a lot of research out there on the diminishing returns of homework after a certain amount of time, and there's also a lot of research out there that suggests that high school students are often over-worked and over-stressed. ICS students have rigorous school work that stretches and challenges them, and yet, we don't think it is fair or right to expect our students to stay up until the wee hours of the morning just to be able to do what is expected of them. Many of our students have active commitments in the arts, athletics, service learning, and participation in activities outside of school.
Indian Creek school is a co-educational, college preparatory independent school, located in Crownsville, Maryland.  Students in Pre-K3 through grade 12 receive a vibrant educational experience based on excellent academics steeped in strong student-teacher connections.