When I screen resumes, side projects are worth more (for technical jobs).
Let's say I have the choice between someone who is a "senior programmer" with 4 years experience and a fresh grad who programmed a game when he was a teenager.
The guy who has 4 years may or may not be good. He could be promoted solely on seniority. There's little sign of him actually being competent at his job. Unless he has a portfolio or could demonstrate skills during the interview, he's on par with many fresh graduates.
On the other hand, the guy who made a game actually made something. He's got an understanding of how programming works. He can pass a FizzBuzz test.
When I screen resumes, I look more at the side projects and hobbies section more than the work experience section. If this guy has 7 years of experience, a long list of programming languages and certifications, but hasn't made one hobby project, that's a massive red flag.
It means that the guy probably doesn't love his job and lacks the creativity required in programming. One of the key things in hiring is looking for attitude instead of skills.
Of course, many people drop out their side projects from their CV so they may certainly be competent. But I'm saying that it certainly doesn't hurt to include them!
However, please don't include your assignments, unless it was really cool (like some elite colleges practically expect you to make a sellable product).