Homework: is it worth it?

Overall, homework does appear to result in higher levels of achievement for older students (at the secondary level).

For these students, more time spent on homework is associated with higher levels of achievement, although there is probably a level beyond which more is counterproductive (perhaps at three hours a day).

For students aged 11-13, homework appears to be of benefit, but not to the same degree as for older students.

For these students, spending more than an hour or two on homework does not result in greater benefit.

There is little evidence of benefit for students younger than 11, although it can be plausibly argued that small amounts of homework can have an indirect benefit for promoting good study habits and attitudes to learning.

The Suggested Benefits of Homework

The most obvious presumed benefit of homework is, of course, that it will improve students' understanding and retention of the material covered. However, partly because this (most measurable) benefit has not been consistently demonstrated, it has also been assumed that homework has less direct benefits:

  • improving study skills, especially time management
  • teaching students that learning can take place outside the classroom
  • involving parents
  • promoting responsibility and self-discipline

The Possible Negative Effects of Homework

Probably the most obvious negative effect is the stress homework can produce in both student and parent. Homework can be a major battleground between parent and child, and in such cases, it's hard to argue that it's worth it. There are other potential problems with homework:

  • homework demands can limit the time available to spend on other beneficial activities, such as sport and community involvement
  • too much homework can lead to students losing interest in the subject, or even in learning
  • parents can confuse students by using teaching methods different from those of their teachers
  • homework can widen social inequalities
  • homework may encourage cheating

What Research Tells Us

Because homework has been a difficult variable to study directly, uncontaminated by other variables, research has produced mixed and inconclusive results. However, it does seem that the weight of the evidence is in favor of homework. According to Cooper's much-cited review of homework studies, there have been 20 studies since 1962 that compared the achievement of students who receive homework with students given no homework. Of these, 14 showed a benefit from doing homework, and six didn't.

The clearest point is the striking influence of age. There seems, from these studies, to be a clear and significant benefit to doing homework for high school students. Students 11 to 13 years of age also showed a clear benefit, but it was much smaller. Students below this age showed no benefit.

Perhaps this explains why high school tutors are so popular! The findings do seem to provide some support for their usefulness, since one-to-one tutoring may be thought of as individualized and tailored homework - the best sort of homework.

In 50 studies, time students reported spending on homework was correlated with their achievement. 43 of the 50 studies showed that students who did more homework achieved more; only 7 studies showed the opposite. The effect was greatest for the high school students and, again, didn't really exist for the elementary school students.For the students in the middle age range (11-13 years), more time spent on homework was associated with higher levels of achievement only up to one to two hours; more than this didn't lead to any more improvement.

TIMSS, however, found little correlation between amount of homework and levels of achievement in mathematics. While they did find that, on average, students who reported spending less than an hour a day on homework had lower average science achievement than classmates who reported more out-of-school study time, spending a lot of time studying was not necessarily associated with higher achievement. Students who reported spending between one and three hours a day on out-of-school study had average achievement that was as high as or higher than that of students who reported doing more than three hours a day.

Two British studies found that while homework in secondary schools produced better exam results, the influence was relatively small. Students who spent seven hours a week or more on a subject achieved about a third of an A level grade better than students of the same gender and ability who spent less than two hours a week.

How much homework is 'right'?

A survey conducted by the United States Bureau of the Census (1984) found that public elementary school students reported spending an average of 4.9 hours and private school elementary students 5.5 hours a week on homework. Public high school students reported doing 6.5 hours and private school students 14.2 hours. Recent research studies by the Brown Center on Education Policy concluded that the majority of U.S. students (83% of nine-year-olds; 66% of thirteen-year-olds; 65% of seventeen-year-olds) spend less than an hour a day on homework, and this has held true for most of the past 50 years. In the last 20 years, homework has increased only in the lower grade levels, where it least matters (and indeed, may be counterproductive).

In America, NEA and the National PTA recommendations are in line with those suggested by Harris Cooper: 10 to 20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter (giving 2 hours for 12th grade).

In Britain, the Government has laid down guidelines, recommending that children as young as five should do up to an hour a week of homework on reading, spelling and numbers, rising to 1.5 hours per week for 8-9 year olds, and 30 minutes a day for 10-11 year olds. The primary motivation for the Government policy on this seems to be a hope that this will reduce the time children spend watching TV, and, presumably, instill good study habits.

TIMSS found that students on average across all the TIMSS 1999 countries spent one hour per day doing science homework, and 2.8 hours a day on all homework (the United States was below this level). On average across all countries, 36% of students reported spending one hour or more per day doing science homework.

There is some evidence that the relationship between time on homework and academic achievement may be curvilinear: pupils doing either very little or a great deal of homework tend to perform less well at school than those doing 'moderate' amounts. Presumably the association between lots of homework and poorer performance occurs because hard work is not the only factor to consider in performance -- ability and strategic skills count for a great deal, and it is likely that many very hard-working students work so long because they lack the skills to work more effectively.

What makes homework effective?

By which I mean, what factors distinguish "good", i.e. useful, homework, from less productive (and even counterproductive) homework. This is the $64,000 question, and, unfortunately, research can tell us very little about it.

Cooper did conclude that there is considerable evidence that homework results in better achievement if material is distributed across several assignments rather than concentrated only on material covered in class that day.

There is no evidence that parental involvement helps, although it may well be that parental involvement can help, if done appropriately. Unfortunately, parental involvement can often be inappropriate.

Can students really watch TV or listen to music while doing homework?

A burning question for many parents!

A British study found that watching TV while doing homework was associated with poorer quality of work and more time spent. However, simply listening to the soundtrack did not affect the quality of the work or time spent. It's assumed that it's the constant task-switching caused by looking back and forth between the screen and the work that causes the negative effect. From this, it would also seem that listening to the radio should not be a problem. It's worth noting that we become less able to multi-task as we age, and that parents' objections to their children's study environment probably reflect their awareness that they themselves would find it difficult to concentrate in such circumstances.

Resources

You can read the TIMSS report at:
http://timss.bc.edu/timss1999b/sciencebench_report/t99bscience_chap_4_2.html

http://timss.bc.edu/timss1999b/mathbench_report/t99bmath_chap_6_6.html

You can read an article on the motivational benefits of homework at:
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NQM/is_3_43/ai_n6361599

And there are more articles about homework, with more details of Cooper's review at:
http://education.umn.edu/CAREI/Reports/Rpractice/Summer94/homework.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980304073520.htm

http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-921/homework.htm

http://www.districtadministration.com/page.cfm?p=656

And a British review of homework research is available at:
http://www.nfer.ac.uk/nfer/publications/HWK01/HWK01_home.cfm?publicationID=501&title=Homework:%20a%20review%20of%20recent%20research

 

April 2012: my update to this article.

Comments

Please respond!

This is a sample of my assignment on the effects of too much homework. Please give your feedback.
Thanks

As children, we are excited about starting school. Even at a young age, it gives you a sense of pride and belonging. We are expected to be at school every day to learn and then to take work home in the form of homework to be completed for the next day. At this age, we start a part of our life cycle, which we are unaware of. We are told that homework helps to cultivate our minds; but in actuality, it is harmful to our well being. As we get older, the homework load increases and once again, we are told it’s to our benefit that we take the work home. At what point is too much, too much? "While homework can be beneficial, teachers should refrain from assigning homework because it does emotional damage, it inhibits social interaction, and it causes students to sleep less."

Re: Please respond!

Well, as comments on the effects of homework, this is all well and good for an opening remark, but of course, you need to provide explicit details that justify these statements. How is homework supposed to cultivate your minds? Does it do this? Where does it fall down? How is it harmful to your well-being?

Also, where is the quote from (you can't simply quote something without referencing it)? Your quote also seems a little off the point, since it is saying no homework, while your preceding sentence talks about amount of homework. You do seem throughout this paragraph to be mixing the issues of no-homework and too much homework.

It's Getting Ridiculous

i think the amount of homework is ridiculous. i attend a private school in nz where i am currently sitting my IGCSEs. i get 3-4hours of homework a day on average. along with that we are made to do a school sport/activity and i have my own hobbies/sports so most nights i wont get home until around 6/7 and i still have to have a shower and eat dinner so i often end up staying up into the early morning just to complete all my homework, needless to say i am dreading next year where the homework will only increase.

BOOOOO

homework is just a waste of time for kids!

ummmmmmm, no it kinda isn't.

ummmmmmm, no it kinda isn't. if you would have read the article you would have noticed that.

Evidence!

The reaserch doesn't tell you that the benefit for homework is very small when done correctly and doesn't affect or can negatively affect a persons over all grade (not to mention all the other variables that render homework useless)

Homework stinkz

I hate hw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's the stupidest thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some one should start a petition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!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no!!!!

For all Hw haters . I too sometime don't spend that much time on homework either but it doesn't include a petition.

If you do your homework you learn extra thing at home at you have got do do it anyway or you would have detentions and other consequences even if you hate it you got to do it.

he is right!!

Hw is very important see im 14 yearsold and I believe this. Hw allows teens my age to actually understand what they are doing in class and this gives them easy grades it is perfect for students in school that dont understand So stop hatin and get it done

Seriously?

I hate homework too, but if you're going to complain about it... do not type like you don't understand basic English and need some.

homework

homework is so jacked up i hate iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yes, YES THEY SHOULD.

yes, YES THEY SHOULD.

OR

If homework is really about time management, we should just do this. Give the kid a little bit of homework, around Middle School age, maybe 2 or 3 pages. The kid does not HAVE to do it. The next day do an activity or pop quiz (that doesn't have that much affect on the grade, but a reasonable amount) that had something only the homework had. After a while the kid will get the message to AT LEAST see if they know the material on the homework. As my math teacher says, It's ok if you don't do the homework, but you better know it by the test. You could still get by pretty decently with grades.

Depends

Honestly, the point of homework is to teach us time management and self control. But the point is, you don't need to spend four hours a day on time management. I do homework as soon as I get home and I usually don't finish until 11 or 12, even then, I have to get up early (6:00 am ish) to finish. Math is probably the only homework we really need, just to reapply all the things we've learned, and forget in about 20 seconds. Even then, we don't need three freaking pages. Twenty or thirty problems would do quite nicely.

Homework

I hate homework and it is of no use to us. We cannot benefit form this what so ever.

i hate hw

i hate hw

What They're Not Telling Us

It is what they're not telling us that is important.

The homework isn't about learning. They are training us for what we will have to do when we have careers. We will have to do what we don't want to.

I think this is what frustrates kids, the illusion. The illusion of what we think we are learning. They make us think that we are doing homework to learn. This is not true. They are afraid to let us learn anything on our own.

They are teaching us how to deal with what we don't want to. The difference between homework and the real world is that homework has no point, no end result with the actual work. This is why kids see no point in it, why they get frustrated, because the work they are doing isn't doing anything. The fact that they are working is doing something, but kids don't see it, the illusion is blocking it. It would be easier to do something you don't want to in the real world, because you can see the point, it is clear, no illusion. They actually tell us why we are doing it.

With homework, it seems as if it would make no difference whether we did it or not. If we had to do something that we don't like in a career situation, we would do it, because it would be going towards the company, making whatever is employing you earn money. We would do it to keep our jobs.

The solution is to remove the illusion. So that we know the point of what we are doing. They try to give it a point, but it just adds another illusion. They think that us not getting in trouble would give it a point. They are wrong. In theory it works, in practice it doesn't.

We aren't learning, we are training. We are training with blindfolds. You might as well teach us how to catalogue a library with both eyes covered.

To schools, remove the illusion. It does nothing but provoke. Without you telling us why we do homework, we see no point. We think you are trying to either teach us something or make us do something for no reason. We are wrong.

One thing that helps (only a bit) is actually marking our work. I know you may be busy or whatever, but if we write something down and then let it set there doing nothing. It only makes the problem worse. Giving us homework without marking it is worse than not giving us homework.

Heed my warning. Remove the illusion. It does more hurt than good.

Homework

As a high school math teacher, remedial algebra to A.P. Calculus, I have to say that teachers tend to assign homework to reinforce the lesson that they have tried to instill in thier students during class. However, direct instruction followed by drill and kill homework is a waste of everyone's time. I tell my students that homework is a double edged lie: They lie to me when they copy from a friend or look up answers on line, and then I lie to them when I "check it" and hand it back. I look at it to see if it's complete and then give students points for turning it it ( at least that's what I used to do). Now the majority of work is done in class individually, in groups - most importantly followed up with a discussion and presentation of problems and concepts from the STUDENTS. This way multiple representations of topics are presented in numerous ways. Not to say that I don't ever directly instruct the class, but I try to avoid telling my students the algorithm followed by some examples and then have them do problems. Homework only works if the student fully understands the concept and remembers it when they are at home. Here is how I ask students to think about it: if you were a football player and you and some buddies decided to practice your plays on the weekend on your own, most coaches would be upset because when you practice drills at practice, if you do the drill wrong or run the play to the wrong side, the coach immediately stops you and corrects the mistake and you do it again. If you practice it on your own and do it wrong continually, the coach then has to undo what you practiced and re teach you the correct way. I think there is a great comparison to math homework here. If students are just presented by the teacher the information with 1 or 2 examples or even 1 or 2 practice problems in class, then sent home with 20 problems to do, what do you think the chances of that student doing the homework correctly or truley understanding the work they are doing is??????

Just something to think about!!!!!!

Re: What They're Not Telling Us

Thank you for your lengthy and thoughtful comment.

I do understand your annoyance, but I think this (rather cynical) perspective is more rooted in poor homework policies or practice than in 'this is how it is'. Certainly one component of homework is to teach time management and self-regulation, but if that is its only purpose then it is bad practice. Not providing prompt feedback on your work is also poor practice!

So I do totally agree with you on the issue of what constitutes poor homework policy. However, there is a point to homework - if it is practiced well. To assume otherwise is to believe that you can do all your learning, most effectively, in the circumscribed limits of the classroom.

The main problem is that many teachers don't understand what makes 'good' homework, or can't be bothered to deliver it, or are constrained by school policy or parental expectations.

My Soap Box about Homework

I am going to stand tall on my soap box and say my peace on here.

As a college student, parent, and aspiring teacher, I have to say that homework can be a good thing. Homework, when used properly, will inforce what you have learned in class. It also allows the parents a chance to see what the child is doing in school.

I understand that many students have after school activities,one is tollerable, but more than that WILL interfere with personal life, health, education, family time, and the life of a child.

Parents who sign their child up for more than one after school activity are not looking out for their childs future. As a parent, you can't live your dreams through your child and you need to be able to tell your child when they have taken on too many activities.

Homework should incorporate reinforcing what the child has learned so they can build confidence and knowledge for their future, and can increase more parent-child time.

I am not dissing after school activities by no means, but when they begin to interfere in homework time and family time, the parents should be smacked.

my mom

well i agree with the person that said that home work is good for yours kids it help them practice what they learned in class. so yes home work is good for your kids.

homework

As far as middle schools and the Middle School Philosophy:

After reading this page and all the opinions, couldn't middle school - core teachers decide on having one day per week to give homework. For example: Science (Monday), Math (Tuesday), English (Wednesday), History (Thursday). The elective courses should not give homework. Each core teacher can only give a maximum of two hours of homework on their day assigned. Remember, giving homework will be optional per teacher.
Also, couldn't middle school TEAM teachers collaborate and decide on what kind of homework and how much homework they are giving each week. They could possibly integrate homework so students can see the relevance and make connections between the subjects.
Students will only have a maximum of two hours per night on one subject per week. They can still have a life AND achieve time management, self-reliance, and reading/writing skills. They will also know what is expected of them each and every day and be able to plan for it. But students NEED to put in the EFFORT and teachers NEED to give homework that is relevant to their lives...and not waste time!

Re: homework

Collaboration between teachers sounds a great idea, and I hope that all the new technology can, in due course, help teachers do this easily. I hadn't thought of this particular aspect of it before - being mainly interested in the ability of technology to facilitate individualized instruction - but technology has potential benefits for facilitating teacher communication and collaboration. It would be great to see a movement toward a more flexible student individual/group, teacher-team approach.

On the subject of homework relevance, I agree entirely! Teachers should always be very clear (in their own minds and to their students), what the purpose of any homework is.

You were right when you said

You were right when you said that study has also bad effects like making the students unlike the subjects if they dont really have an interest on that subject. But somehow, they have to do it in order to learn. But teachers also have to make sure to give assignments that make sense.

Mcmark from Miami DUI Attorney

waste of time

I am wasting hours of my life everyweek. i hate home work

This☺

Homework Gets us to waste time

I totally disagree. That is

I totally disagree. That is where your grades are computed asides from tests and exams and projects.

That's all, Noella C. Martin, DUI attorney Tampa

Author?

Out of Subject, but who is the author of this?

Re: Author?

Everything on this website, unless explicitly stated otherwise, is written by me, Dr Fiona McPherson

When was this electronically

When was this electronically published

Re: When was this electronically

From my records, it appears to have first been uploaded (on my earlier website) around September 2006. Thank you for reminding me to append a note about my update to this article -- my recent blog post on homework.

Overkill is not a good thing

When I was in middle and high school, I and my classmates consistently had 5+ hours of homework a night. I was in all "advanced" classes where the only difference between ours and the regular class was that we were given so much more homework to do. While I managed to play sports and an instrument and dance with the marching band/pep band, I did it by sacrificing hours of sleep each night. This did NOT positively affect my health, and yet I couldn't miss a day of doing homework or I'd be so buried in it I might never catch up (saw it happen to several people in my high school).

I didn't read through every comment, but if no one has mentioned the proclivity for lazy teachers to assign tons of homework (vs making responsible use of class time) to make sure their students meet the minimum levels on standardized tests, I'd like to submit that factoid for discussion now (this applies to college profs as well). I can count on one hand the number of classes I've had since middle school where I didn't teach myself at least half of the course content (I'm in GRAD SCHOOL now. It's systemic). It's really made me very resentful of needing education for ANYTHING else in my life, because I feel like there's been so much crammed down my throat for so long to meet requirements that just.don't. call for that level of insanity.

Anyways, to all the students on this board, best of luck to you, keep speaking out about it, maybe if enough people speak up the people up top will finally hear....

Homework

Hi im also in 8 grade as well and my la teacher is making us do a research paper on homework and i am defintly going against it. I really dont see the point of doing homework because it just wastes time for students who actually have a life. Like me, i play 3 different sports and my practices are late at night. When i get home or even when i get home from school i have pract
ice, there is not enough time for me to do anything. I just wish homework could be banned or something. Make students lives a whole much easier.

bad for your health

if you have a lot of homework and you have lots of other activities, you either wind up quitting those activities or doing less homework, or going to sleep really late and sometimes you might not even fall asleep before you have to get ready for school!

Homework is NOT worth it!

I believe kids should not have homework. Teachers can check a student's progress through classwork. And with homework students get very little free time and possibly a decrease in sleep. It happens with me all the time when my teachers give me loads of homework. All it does for me is make me sleep later and have no fun. Adults are always saying to keep a child healthy and active. Well how? If you have homework then the whole day will go by and you will no longer be able to play outside. You can't just have homework 24/7, you have to enjoy your childhood, it won't last forever.

Bronwyn

I get way too much homework. I am only in the 12-13 year and I get 16+ pieces a week (four pieces a day) and each piece usually takes an hour, so school finishes at 4pm, but there’s loads of traffic so I get home at 4.45-5. Then I get some food and take the dog out till 6.30. Then I do the homework which is really hard till 11pm. Then I want to relax and chill out, maybe pack my bag and get ready for bed or just sit down and watch the TV or read. then, before I know it, it’s 12 midnight and I’m really tired. Then I get up at 6am and I feel really ill and my mother wonders why. But sometimes I get home at 6 after choir or sport clubs, so I end up going to bed at 1am. Then I might have to take a day off school after 2 weeks of this – then I have 8 pieces of homework to complete the next day and I just feel like crap. Is this what teachers want? Because I don’t find homework beneficial like this. A Bit of revision here and there is good, but useless research and exercises could’ve been done in class. I get so stressed I just cry.

homework

homework takes up to much time, and it stresses me out.the teacher is making us do a book report and it's due next week.she makes us do 2 book reports a month and i don't get any freetime. plus after i do my homework, my parents hog the t.v. i wish there was less homework.

homework

ya i know how you feel, my teacher is making us do a 20 paragraph research paper and it is due on tuesday. I have lost all time to do what i want.

Skipping school because of homework.

I've skipped 3 months of school because i had a homework assignment, but i knew i was gonna flunk it.My mom doesn't even know until this very day. I say "why not just keep homework at 2 hours min and if teachers raise the hours of homework, it encourges students to cheat, interest in the subject, or maybe even learning." Oh and by the way I'm grade 8.

Re: Skipping school because of homework

I totally agree

My rant on Homework

First off, I'm here because I have to do an essay on why homework SHOULDN'T be banned. I'm having a hard time actually finding evidence supporting that, except that there are links between homework and higher achievement in school. It's ironic how I'M assigned to this topic for debates, as I'm one of the students that has almost no life because all I do is homework that the school assigns.

However, I don't think it should be banned either. It seems that all these experts and teachers are only seeing in black and white. Homework should be banned! NO! It shouldn't be! Homework DOES help, however, it's assigned in too large of amounts. I say that it be assigned in more moderate portions.

In the "real world", adults are assigned "homework" only when they don't finish it in the workplace. However, in school, it doesn't matter whether you have the subject down-pat and have completed all of your work, you get assigned homework anyway! It doesn't seem fair (and yes, I know that "life isn't fair") that the people/kids who are well-behaved and ahead are stuck doing the same work that others are doing.

Plus, adults are always talking about "team-work" and good planning, yet we're told that the algebra teachers don't care what you have in english, that the science teachers don't care what you have in spanish! This seems kind of hypocritical, don't you think? Practice what you preach people!

And yes, I know that teachers have well intentions in preparing us for the "real world". Yet, I don't see adults getting the same worksheet as their peers that you have to solve addition problems between fractions to get some corny joke, and they must complete... or else!

There really are some brilliant students out there that are smart, but it's not showing because they're drowning in unnecessary homework that they don't have the time to complete! If they can't complete it, then their grades drop, they work to fix it, they lose sleep, they fall asleep in class, their grades drop further, they're rejected for colleges, their futures are (most-likely) ruined! The very teachers that are trying to "help" us are wrecking us!

Please, someone understand that homework has its pros, but if not assigned correctly, it can cause more of a negative impact as opposed the the positive one that it could have! It's killing the only childhood we'll ever have!

Agrement with my rant on homework

I am doing similar things, I must make a report on why their should be less homework. My teacher wants to know "evidence" on how I know their is to much homework. JUST LOOK AROUND THE CLASSROOM! You will see sleep-walkers, groggy people, dark circles, complaints, yawns, so on and so forth. Im in sixth grade and my report has 2046 characters, and I still need to type two more paragraphs! If their is something wrong with that, SAY SOMETHING. Get with the program teachers! We have too much homework. HELP US OUT PLEASE! I am depressed and tired and want to skip school all together. please do something! SOS school! I want to break into tears I am so frustrated!

I hear you

I hear you

Correlation is not causation

This is a poorly constructed argument in favor of homework. While you note that 43 of 50 studies showed a CORRELATION between doing homework and higher achievement, that may well be a case of post-hoc ergo propter-hoc reasoning: that is, the kids who were going to do well anyway were also those who chose to (or were forced to) finish their homework.
At present there is NO evidence (none, zero, zip, zilch, nada) that homework actually promotes or causes student learning. There is significant evidence that it has a negative effect on student attitudes towards learning. The inescapable conclusion: homework doesn't work.

- A teacher

Re: Correlation is not causation

Of course you are correct that correlation is not causation, however the plausible correlation between ability and homework (or at least the connecting factors of diligence and self-regulation) is equally glaringly obvious to researchers. They do try and overcome this problem in their research. Here is what Cooper says in his review of the research:

Studies that have attempted to establish a causal link between homework and academic achievement have done so using several different research designs: (a) randomly assigning classrooms or students within classrooms to homework and no-homework conditions; (b) assigning homework to classrooms in a nonrandom manner but attempting statistical control of rival hypotheses; (c) using naturalistic measurement to assess both the amount of homework students do and their achievement, but attempting statistical control of rival hypotheses; and (d) testing structural equation models using naturalistic data.

While each set of studies is flawed, in general the studies tend not to share the same flaws. Across the set, a wide variety of students have provided data, and the effects of homework have been tested in multiple subject areas. The studies have controlled for or tested many plausible rival hypotheses in various combinations. Homework has been embedded within diverse structural models. With only rare exceptions, the relationship between the amount of homework students do and their achievement outcomes was found to be positive and statistically significant. There- fore, we think it would not be imprudent, based on the evidence in hand, to conclude that doing homework causes improved academic achievement.

I am not in fact a big fan of homework as it is all too often carried out. But I also think it's indisputable that most learning occurs outside the classroom. A sweeping statement that all homework is useless would be ... Well, the kindest thing would be to say that perhaps it indicates a failure of imagination. Much of the homework that is given may be useless, but then, in my opinion, much of what goes on in the classroom is often useless. Whether lesson-work, and homework, is valuable really depends on the teacher.

And yes, homework is frequently de-motivating. That's why it's so important that the teacher think carefully about it and what it's supposed to achieve -- rather than simply handing it out because it's expected (or even as a punishment).

why cant we pick?

im in year 8, and everyone keeps going on about how we are growing up. surely that means we are old enough to make our own decisions. If we do our homework we get nothing and if we dont, we get punished. personally, i think the only homework we should get, is what we don't finish in the classroom.

Why can't we pick? I agree

I agree..... Assigning extra homework will just take up time and energy...... Having homework that you didn't finish in class is better, because you knew you did it that day and you have to finish it ^_^

I agree.

I'm in year 8 as well, and we're supposed to do 1 1/2 hours of homework each night. Obvoously the teachers set us far more and punish us if we don't. In fact, we just got set a science assessment for TOMORROW. Repeat, TOMORROW. It took me 2 horus to do that, and that's only one subject. I've spent 1 1/2 hours on a history essay. I still get good grades because I'm smart, even though I spend more than 3 hours a night on homework! It's so unfair!

3-4 hours of homework!!!

I'm in year 10 and we get 3-4 hours of homework a night, even though the school says that we are supposed to get 2 and a half hours. But the teachers ignore that rule and set us tons of unnecessary homework!!! This is stupid, and gives us virtually no time to relax and just be kids!! Life's not supposed to be all work

2 hours. A day

I was on my schools website, and they said that we are REQUIRED to do 2 horus or more on homework.
Obviously, I'm not going to do so.
But still, I used to share answers with friends and I still stayed in Honors, passed tests great, and got into a good school.
Why?
Because I didnt stress out everyday about homework (when i stress out it causes me too not focus on anything)

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