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- Are Students in the United States Getting Too Much Homework?
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How much homework is too much? Both the National Education Association and the National PTA support the standard of ten minutes of homework per grade level and ensuring that there is a general limit to how much time students spend studying after school. While many school districts have adopted these guidelines, many parents, teachers, and students themselves have spoken out about the stress and lack of free time caused by too much homework. There is a growing movement that calls for giving students more freedom to play , explore, socialize, and discover what excites them. However, many believe that homework and studying are crucial tools for academic success and character development. This infographic from Playground Equipment takes a data-driven approach to homework in America and homework around the world to help gain a more balanced perspective.
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Here are the top 20 U.S. states with the most homework in elementary and middle school in minutes per day:
- California: 56 minutes
- Maine: 55.7 minutes
- Louisiana: 54 minutes
- New Mexico: 54 minutes
- Washington: 53.1 minutes
- Indiana: 51.8 minutes
- Utah: 51.4 minutes
- Nebraska: 50 minutes
- Vermont: 50 minutes
- Mississippi: 48 minutes
- West Virginia: 48 minutes
- New Hampshire: 48 minutes
- South Carolina: 48 minutes
- North Dakota: 47.5 minutes
- Texas: 46.1 minutes
- South Dakota: 45 minutes
- New York: 44.5 minutes
- Minnesota: 44 minutes
- Florida: 44 minutes
- Wisconsin: 43.6 minutes
Here are the top 20 U.S. states with the most homework in high school in minutes per day:
- Vermont: 110 minutes
- Maine: 107.2 minutes
- West Virginia: 102 minutes
- Louisiana: 102 minutes
- Connecticut: 93 minutes
- New Mexico: 90 minutes
- South Dakota: 90 minutes
- Washington: 88.8 minutes
- South Carolina: 88.1 minutes
- California: 85.7 minutes
- Idaho: 85 minutes
- Wisconsin: 84.5 minutes
- Virginia: 84.4 minutes
- Georgia: 84.2 minutes
- New Hampshire: 84 minutes
- Minnesota: 82 minutes
- Arkansas: 81.4 minutes
- Montana: 81 minutes
- Missouri: 80.5 minutes
- Illinois: 80.3 minutes
What Countries Give the Most Homework?
If you are curious about what countries have the most homework, we have compiled data to provide insight into how homework around the world is incorporated into the daily routines of students. Here are the top ten countries where children spend the most time on homework:
- China: 13.8 hours weekly
- Russia: 9.7 hours weekly
- Singapore: 9.4 hours weekly
- Kazakhstan: 8.8 hours weekly
- Italy: 8.7 hours weekly
- Ireland: 7.3 hours weekly
- Romania: 7.3 hours weekly
- Estonia: 6.9 hours weekly
- Lithuania: 6.7 hours weekly
- Poland: 6.6 hours weekly
Pros and Cons of Homework
Is homework helpful? Or is homework harmful? There’s plenty of research that supports both sides. Here are a few pros and cons of homework to consider:
- Con: A study by Stanford educators found that 56% of students surveyed cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives, contributing to migraines, ulcers, and sleep deprivation. Less than 1% of students said homework was not a stressor.
- Con: The National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students get an average of 6.8 hours and elementary students get an average of 4.7 hours of homework each week. This is more than what is recommended by experts.
- Con: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that after around four hours of homework per week, the additional time invested in homework has a negligible impact on performance.
- Pro: Research by the High School Journal indicates that students assigned homework outperformed 69% of students without homework on both standardized tests and grades.
- Pro: Research by the City University of New York stated that students who engage in self-regulatory processes such as homework develop goal-setting, time management, and focus skills that lead to higher achievement.
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Homework in High School: How Much Is Too Much?
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It’s not hard to find a high school student who is stressed about homework. Many are stressed to the max--juggling extracurricular activities, jobs, and family responsibilities. It can be hard for many students, particularly low-income students, to find the time to dedicate to homework. So students in the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program at YouthBeat in Oakland, California are asking what’s a fair amount of homework for high school students?
TEACHERS: Get your students in the discussion on KQED Learn, a safe place for middle and high school students to investigate controversial topics and share their voices. Click to see this video and lesson plan on KQED Learn .
Is homework beneficial to students?
The homework debate has been going on for years. There’s a big body of research that shows that homework can have a positive impact on academic performance. It can also help students prepare for the academic rigors of college.
Does homework hurt students?
Some research suggests that homework is only beneficial up to a certain point. Too much homework can lead to compromised health and greater stress in students. Many students, particularly low-income students, can struggle to find the time to do homework, especially if they are working jobs after school or taking care of family members. Some students might not have access to technology, like computers or the internet, that are needed to complete assignments at home-- which can make completing assignments even more challenging. Many argue that this contributes to inequity in education-- particularly if completing homework is linked to better academic performance.
How much homework should students get?
Based on research, the National Education Association recommends the 10-minute rule stating students should receive 10 minutes of homework per grade per night. But opponents to homework point out that for seniors that’s still 2 hours of homework which can be a lot for students with conflicting obligations. And in reality, high school students say it can be tough for teachers to coordinate their homework assignments since students are taking a variety of different classes. Some people advocate for eliminating homework altogether.
Edweek: How Much Homework Is Enough? Depends Who You Ask
Business Insider: Here’s How Homework Differs Around the World
Review of Educational Research: Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003
Phys.org: Study suggests more than two hours of homework a night may be counterproductive
The Journal of Experimental Education: Nonacademic Effects of Homework in Privileged, High-Performing High Schools
National Education Association: Research Spotlight on Homework NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education
The Atlantic: Who Does Homework Work For?
Center for Public Education: What research says about the value of homework: Research review
Time: Opinion: Why I think All Schools Should Abolish Homework
The Atlantic: A Teacher’s Defense of Homework
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Students spend three times longer on homework than average, survey reveals
Sonya Kulkarni and Pallavi Gorantla | January 9, 2022
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The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association have suggested that a healthy number of hours that students should be spending can be determined by the “10-minute rule.” This means that each grade level should have a maximum homework time incrementing by 10 minutes depending on their grade level (for instance, ninth-graders would have 90 minutes of homework, 10th-graders should have 100 minutes, and so on).
As ‘finals week’ rapidly approaches, students not only devote effort to attaining their desired exam scores but make a last attempt to keep or change the grade they have for semester one by making up homework assignments.
High schoolers reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight, according to a study by the Washington Post from 2018 to 2020 of over 50,000 individuals. A survey of approximately 200 Bellaire High School students revealed that some students spend over three times this number.
The demographics of this survey included 34 freshmen, 43 sophomores, 54 juniors and 54 seniors on average.
When asked how many hours students spent on homework in a day on average, answers ranged from zero to more than nine with an average of about four hours. In contrast, polled students said that about one hour of homework would constitute a healthy number of hours.
Junior Claire Zhang said she feels academically pressured in her AP schedule, but not necessarily by the classes.
“The class environment in AP classes can feel pressuring because everyone is always working hard and it makes it difficult to keep up sometimes.” Zhang said.
A total of 93 students reported that the minimum grade they would be satisfied with receiving in a class would be an A. This was followed by 81 students, who responded that a B would be the minimum acceptable grade. 19 students responded with a C and four responded with a D.
“I am happy with the classes I take, but sometimes it can be very stressful to try to keep up,” freshman Allyson Nguyen said. “I feel academically pressured to keep an A in my classes.”
Up to 152 students said that grades are extremely important to them, while 32 said they generally are more apathetic about their academic performance.
Last year, nine valedictorians graduated from Bellaire. They each achieved a grade point average of 5.0. HISD has never seen this amount of valedictorians in one school, and as of now there are 14 valedictorians.
“I feel that it does degrade the title of valedictorian because as long as a student knows how to plan their schedule accordingly and make good grades in the classes, then anyone can be valedictorian,” Zhang said.
Bellaire offers classes like physical education and health in the summer. These summer classes allow students to skip the 4.0 class and not put it on their transcript. Some electives also have a 5.0 grade point average like debate.
Close to 200 students were polled about Bellaire having multiple valedictorians. They primarily answered that they were in favor of Bellaire having multiple valedictorians, which has recently attracted significant acclaim .
Senior Katherine Chen is one of the 14 valedictorians graduating this year and said that she views the class of 2022 as having an extraordinary amount of extremely hardworking individuals.
“I think it was expected since freshman year since most of us knew about the others and were just focused on doing our personal best,” Chen said.
Chen said that each valedictorian achieved the honor on their own and deserves it.
“I’m honestly very happy for the other valedictorians and happy that Bellaire is such a good school,” Chen said. “I don’t feel any less special with 13 other valedictorians.”
Nguyen said that having multiple valedictorians shows just how competitive the school is.
“It’s impressive, yet scary to think about competing against my classmates,” Nguyen said.
Offering 30 AP classes and boasting a significant number of merit-based scholars Bellaire can be considered a competitive school.
“I feel academically challenged but not pressured,” Chen said. “Every class I take helps push me beyond my comfort zone but is not too much to handle.”
Students have the opportunity to have off-periods if they’ve met all their credits and are able to maintain a high level of academic performance. But for freshmen like Nguyen, off periods are considered a privilege. Nguyen said she usually has an hour to five hours worth of work everyday.
“Depending on the day, there can be a lot of work, especially with extra curriculars,” Nguyen said. “Although, I am a freshman, so I feel like it’s not as bad in comparison to higher grades.”
According to the survey of Bellaire students, when asked to evaluate their agreement with the statement “students who get better grades tend to be smarter overall than students who get worse grades,” responders largely disagreed.
Zhang said that for students on the cusp of applying to college, it can sometimes be hard to ignore the mental pressure to attain good grades.
“As a junior, it’s really easy to get extremely anxious about your GPA,” Zhang said. “It’s also a very common but toxic practice to determine your self-worth through your grades but I think that we just need to remember that our mental health should also come first. Sometimes, it’s just not the right day for everyone and one test doesn’t determine our smartness.”
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Kassie • May 6, 2022 at 12:29 pm
Im using this for an English report. This is great because on of my sources needed to be from another student. Homework drives me insane. Im glad this is very updated too!!
Kaylee Swaim • Jan 25, 2023 at 9:21 pm
I am also using this for an English report. I have to do an argumentative essay about banning homework in schools and this helps sooo much!
E. Elliott • Apr 25, 2022 at 6:42 pm
I’m from Louisiana and am actually using this for an English Essay thanks for the information it was very informative.
Nabila Wilson • Jan 10, 2022 at 6:56 pm
Interesting with the polls! I didn’t realize about 14 valedictorians, that’s crazy.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2020
- Striking a Balance: How Much Homework is Too Much Homework for High Schoolers?
Especially when so much of school has shifted to online learning, educators all over the world are wondering: how much homework should I be giving my students?
This is especially true for high school educators, who are trying to prepare their students for college or the workforce, and all-important standardized tests that could define their futures for them (as well as the funding for your school).
Giving a certain amount of homework seems necessary in order for students to truly understand and apply the material they are learning. Of course, teachers also might not have enough time to get through all the necessary work during class.
According to research on the effects of homework , over two hours of homework a night can have detrimental effects on students’ stress levels and create a lack of balance in their lives.
But educators will find no perfect answer to this question, so the best approach is to find a happy medium.
And, educators should remember that assigning homework as busy work, or to ask students to learn more material at home that wasn’t covered in class, could end up in hours of homework a night that are highly detrimental to students’ development and overall happiness.
Finding a Happy Medium
When it comes to homework assignments, strive to find a happy medium between challenging students and simply helping them learn the material.
To find that happy medium, consider the following:
Define the purpose of homework.
As an educator, you will find that defining the purpose of the homework you’re assigning will tell you how necessary it is or how much you should give.
If the purpose is to help students apply a new concept, demonstrate their understanding, or build an important skill, then assign away.
However, if you find yourself assigning work to keep students busy, teach new material not covered in class, or make sure they understand the value of hard work, you might be overdoing it.
Take high school schedules into consideration.
High school students, especially in an increasingly modern and digital world, already have nearly impossible schedules to maintain.
Even during a pandemic, they’re trying to fit in after-school activities, college prep, essay writing, sports, and time with family and friends into their lives.
All of this gets added to the fact that their brains are still developing, and they are dealing with the constant struggle inherent in growing up.
Remember that teens need sleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , teens between the ages of 13 and 18 need an average of 8-10 hours of sleep a night for healthy development, but most are not getting the amount of sleep they need on school nights.
Kids and teens who do not get enough sleep are at a higher risk of developing health and behavior problems, which could impair their ability to learn effectively.
So, sending teens home with too much homework might actually be impairing your ability to prepare them for the future or even for the next exam.
Reasons Not to Overwork High School Students
Rather than harping on the negative effects of too much homework, educators might feel more inspired to think about the positive effects of assigning less homework, if at all possible.
Create resilient learners, not perfectionists.
By focusing on learning from, working with, and even failing at classroom material, rather than immediately mastering it, educators will help to create resilient learners.
So many high school students face pressure to be the best, to be exceptional, and to attend top colleges and universities. They also face pressure to have perfect social media accounts, to be the most popular students, and to flawlessly define their identities.
This idea of perfection, as we know, is impossible to achieve. So, if educators can strive to teach students to work hard for shorter amounts of time, rather than perfectly learning a concept in one night, students will be more resilient and accepting of failure in life.
Instill the lifelong importance of play and rest.
In addition, as adults, we are constantly trying to find our sense of play again and searching for moments of rest. Many of us spend free time reading self-help books and listening to inspirational TED talks, knowing that we have lost some sense of ourselves by focusing only on work.
American society especially encourages us to be forever busy, working as hard as we can until we reach our goals.
Though the hard work narrative is still an important one in many respects, let’s not deprive our high school students of their inherent sense of play and rest.
Perhaps we can even cultivate an understanding of the importance of play and rest, building these concepts into educational homework plans, before these students become another generation of overworked adults.
Avoid early academic burnout.
Finally, by avoiding too much homework than is necessary, educators will help students also avoid academic burnout too early.
When high school students spend all of high school working as hard and as many hours, or more, than they will in college, the prospect of college work can be daunting.
Students don’t need to feel burned out before they even reach a college campus or start their first post-graduate career. They have plenty of time to overwork themselves if they wish, but they should be able to enjoy learning in high school without becoming completely overwhelmed in the process.
By assigning less homework, it might feel like you’re missing out as an educator or falling behind; but really think about how much is too much. And try to give your high school students a break.
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How false reports of homework overload in America have spread so far
Confusing debate suggests homework is too much when it’s often too little.
A previous version of this column mistakenly referred to the education nonprofit Challenge Success as College Success. The column has been corrected.
Recently I saw in the Phi Delta Kappan magazine an attack on homework by a California high school junior, Colin McGrath. Writing the piece as a letter to his younger brother , he said:
“In a 2020 Washington Post article , Denise Pope described what she learned from a survey of more than 50,000 high school students: On average, they complete 2.7 hours of homework a night . That means you won’t be able to play on the trampoline anymore, ride your bike, or explore any other facet of life.”
My reaction: Huh??!! I’ve spent two decades trying to dispel the myth that our kids all get too much homework. The truth, according to several scholarly sources, is that U.S. high school homework averages about an hour a night.
What most teenagers do with the rest of their free time has little connection to trampolines, bicycles or other healthy pursuits. Scholars say their favorite leisure activities are watching TV, playing video games or maybe both at the same time.
So I looked for that Sept. 1, 2020, article in my newspaper that McGrath mentioned. McGrath quoted Pope correctly. I missed that piece when it came out. Maybe most people did. I looked for Wikipedia’s official answer to this frequently asked question: How much time does the average teenager spend on homework?
I was horrified by what I saw, delivered to millions of Wikipedia users: “High schoolers reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight, according to a study by The Washington Post from 2018 to 2020 of over 50,000 individuals.”
That’s wrong, but I am used to widespread falsehoods about homework overload. Otherwise responsible writers and filmmakers seem unable to resist adding to the hysteria. The popular 2009 film documentary “Race to Nowhere,” screened in 47 states and 20 countries, left the impression that young Americans everywhere were buckling under homework’s weight, yet the film never told viewers that the average amount is an just an hour a night.
Why ‘Race to Nowhere’ documentary is wrong
When Sara Bennett, an attorney and activist parent, and Nancy Kalish, a journalist specializing in parenting issues, went on the “Today” show in 2006 to publicize their book “The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It,” they said the average homework load had “skyrocketed.” They used that same word in their book.
They were sensationalizing the fact that the average time 6-to-8-year-olds spent on homework went from eight minutes a day in 1981 to 22 minutes a day in 2003. That supposedly awful demand on their time was the equivalent of watching two episodes of “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research reported in 2003 an average of 50 minutes of homework each weekday for 15-to-17-year-olds, based on a nationally representative sample of 2,907 children and adolescents. A 2019 report by the Pew Research Center , based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, said 15-to-17- year-olds spent on average an hour a day on homework during the school year. The 2019 UCLA Higher Education Research Institute survey of 95,505 college freshmen reported 57 percent of those students, all good enough to get into college, recalled spending five hours or less a week on homework their senior year of high school. Research shows homework has little value in elementary school, but does correlate with higher achievement in high school.
The false notion of teenagers averaging 2.7 hours a night was incorrectly derived from a study by Challenge Success, a nonprofit organization that works on identifying problems and implementing best practices in schools. Pope, the author of the piece in my newspaper, is a co-founder of Challenge Success and a senior lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.
Pope is a wonderful writer and scholar whom I have quoted in the past. She can’t be blamed for Wikipedia saying wrongly the Challenge Success study was done by The Post. She also tried to tell readers that her study did NOT use a representative sample of U.S. teens.
She said the students in the study were all from “high-performing schools.” I only wish she had revealed that in the same sentence that she reported the 2.7-hours-per-night homework average. Her note that the study was confined to the best schools appeared in a different paragraph. That may explain why McGrath, Wikipedia and careless people like me failed, at least on first reading, to see that the sample was skewed.
The Weak Case Against Homework
Too much homework can be a problem in high-achieving schools that cater to middle- and upper-class children. But they represent only about half the country. People on my side of the argument would say that three hours of homework a night is fine if the courses raise achievement and college readiness. I don’t think our kids’ favorite pastimes, video games and TV, are as good for them as going deep into those courses. And even three hours of homework leaves another three hours or so each night (plus the weekend) for nonacademic pursuits.
My concern is the less advantaged students who bring the national average down to just one hour a night by doing little or no homework at all. Since 1996 I have been studying hundreds of unusually dedicated public high schools in low-income communities that have raised achievement for their students and made it far more likely they will succeed in college or whatever they do after high school.
Those schools consider homework vital. One of them was led by Deborah Meier, a hero to many progressive educators. She created New York City’s Central Park East High School, where the mostly low-income students heard much about the importance of using time wisely.
“We told our kids … that the school’s explicit work probably required a 40-hour week — maybe more, maybe less,” she said to me. The official school week was about 30 hours. So she kept the school open an extra 10 hours a week — maybe an hour before school, an hour after school and Saturday mornings.
She didn’t call the extra time homework, but made clear it was essential. “Everyone had more to read than could be done while at school — mostly five-plus hours a week,” she said, “and probably another five for exploring and preparing and revising work done during school hours.”
Pope thinks in similar ways. She sees her Challenge Success research “as a way to a much larger conversation about how to create more meaningful and engaging learning, … how to add time for advisory/tutorial and more student to teacher interaction, how to make all the kids in the school feel like they belong and are cared for.”
That will require more than our puny national homework average of an hour a night, after an inadequate average of five hours of class a day. More learning takes time. One step in the right direction would be accepting the need for regular homework, particularly in high school, and dispensing with falsehoods about giving kids too much to learn.
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How Much Homework Is Too Much for Our Teens?
Here's what educators and parents can do to help kids find the right balance between school and home.
Does Your Teen Have Too Much Homework?
Today’s teens are under a lot of pressure.
They're under pressure to succeed, to win, to be the best and to get into the top colleges. With so much pressure, is it any wonder today’s youth report being under as much stress as their parents? In fact, during the school year, teens say they experience stress levels higher than those reported by adults, according to a previous American Psychological Association "Stress in America" survey.
Odds are if you ask a teen what's got them so worked up, the subject of school will come up. School can cause a lot of stress, which can lead to other serious problems, like sleep deprivation . According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night, but only 15 percent are even getting close to that amount. During the school week, most teens only get about six hours of zzz’s a night, and some of that sleep deficit may be attributed to homework.
When it comes to school, many adults would rather not trade places with a teen. Think about it. They get up at the crack of dawn and get on the bus when it’s pitch dark outside. They put in a full day sitting in hours of classes (sometimes four to seven different classes daily), only to get more work dumped on them to do at home. To top it off, many kids have after-school obligations, such as extracurricular activities including clubs and sports , and some have to work. After a long day, they finally get home to do even more work – schoolwork.
[Read: What Parents Should Know About Teen Depression .]
Homework is not only a source of stress for students, but it can also be a hassle for parents. If you are the parent of a kid who strives to be “perfect," then you know all too well how much time your child spends making sure every bit of homework is complete, even if it means pulling an all-nighter. On the flip side, if you’re the parent of a child who decided that school ends when the last bell rings, then you know how exhausting that homework tug-of-war can be. And heaven forbid if you’re that parent who is at their wit's end because your child excels on tests and quizzes but fails to turn in assignments. The woes of academics can go well beyond the confines of the school building and right into the home.
This is the time of year when many students and parents feel the burden of the academic load. Following spring break, many schools across the nation head into the final stretch of the year. As a result, some teachers increase the amount of homework they give. The assignments aren’t punishment, although to students and parents who are having to constantly stay on top of their kids' schoolwork, they can sure seem that way.
From a teacher’s perspective, the assignments are meant to help students better understand the course content and prepare for upcoming exams. Some schools have state-mandated end of grade or final tests. In those states these tests can account for 20 percent of a student’s final grade. So teachers want to make sure that they cover the entire curriculum before that exam. Aside from state-mandated tests, some high school students are enrolled in advanced placement or international baccalaureate college-level courses that have final tests given a month or more before the end of the term. In order to cover all of the content, teachers must maintain an accelerated pace. All of this means more out of class assignments.
Given the challenges kids face, there are a few questions parents and educators should consider:
Is homework necessary?
Many teens may give a quick "no" to this question, but the verdict is still out. Research supports both sides of the argument. Personally, I would say, yes, some homework is necessary, but it must be purposeful. If it’s busy work, then it’s a waste of time. Homework should be a supplemental teaching tool. Too often, some youth go home completely lost as they haven’t grasped concepts covered in class and they may become frustrated and overwhelmed.
For a parent who has been in this situation, you know how frustrating this can be, especially if it’s a subject that you haven’t encountered in a while. Homework can serve a purpose such as improving grades, increasing test scores and instilling a good work ethic. Purposeful homework can come in the form of individualizing assignments based on students’ needs or helping students practice newly acquired skills.
Homework should not be used to extend class time to cover more material. If your child is constantly coming home having to learn the material before doing the assignments, then it’s time to contact the teacher and set up a conference. Listen when kids express their concerns (like if they say they're expected to know concepts not taught in class) as they will provide clues about what’s happening or not happening in the classroom. Plus, getting to the root of the problem can help with keeping the peace at home too, as an irritable and grumpy teen can disrupt harmonious family dynamics .
[Read: What Makes Teens 'Most Likely to Succeed?' ]
How much is too much?
According to the National PTA and the National Education Association, students should only be doing about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level. But teens are doing a lot more than that, according to a poll of high school students by the organization Statistic Brain . In that poll teens reported spending, on average, more than three hours on homework each school night, with 11th graders spending more time on homework than any other grade level. By contrast, some polls have shown that U.S. high school students report doing about seven hours of homework per week.
Much of a student's workload boils down to the courses they take (such as advanced or college prep classes), the teaching philosophy of educators and the student’s commitment to doing the work. Regardless, research has shown that doing more than two hours of homework per night does not benefit high school students. Having lots of homework to do every day makes it difficult for teens to have any downtime , let alone family time .
How do we respond to students' needs?
As an educator and parent, I can honestly say that oftentimes there is a mismatch in what teachers perceive as only taking 15 minutes and what really takes 45 minutes to complete. If you too find this to be the case, then reach out to your child's teacher and find out why the assignments are taking longer than anticipated for your child to complete.
Also, ask the teacher about whether faculty communicate regularly with one another about large upcoming assignments. Whether it’s setting up a shared school-wide assignment calendar or collaborating across curriculums during faculty meetings, educators need to discuss upcoming tests and projects, so students don’t end up with lots of assignments all competing for their attention and time at once. Inevitably, a student is going to get slammed occasionally, but if they have good rapport with their teachers, they will feel comfortable enough to reach out and see if alternative options are available. And as a parent, you can encourage your kid to have that dialogue with the teacher.
Often teens would rather blend into the class than stand out. That’s unfortunate because research has shown time and time again that positive teacher-student relationships are strong predictors of student engagement and achievement. By and large, most teachers appreciate students advocating for themselves and will go the extra mile to help them out.
Can there be a balance between home and school?
Students can strike a balance between school and home, but parents will have to help them find it. They need your guidance to learn how to better manage their time, get organized and prioritize tasks, which are all important life skills. Equally important is developing good study habits. Some students may need tutoring or coaching to help them learn new material or how to take notes and study. Also, don’t forget the importance of parent-teacher communication. Most educators want nothing more than for their students to succeed in their courses.
Learning should be fun, not mundane and cumbersome. Homework should only be given if its purposeful and in moderation. Equally important to homework is engaging in activities, socializing with friends and spending time with the family.
[See: 10 Concerns Parents Have About Their Kids' Health .]
Most adults don’t work a full-time job and then go home and do three more hours of work, and neither should your child. It's not easy learning to balance everything, especially if you're a teen. If your child is spending several hours on homework each night, don't hesitate to reach out to teachers and, if need be, school officials. Collectively, we can all work together to help our children de-stress and find the right balance between school and home.
12 Questions You Should Ask Your Kids at Dinner
Tags: parenting , family , family health , teens , education , high school , stress
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Too much homework: Should we apply the ’10-minute rule’ strictly?
It can seem unthinkable to ascribe just 10 minutes of homework per day to students.
In countries like Singapore where the pursuit of top grades is intense, 15-year-old students are assigned 9.4 hours of homework weekly, according to data from the OECD. Teens in Shanghai spend the most hours per week on homework (14 hours) globally.
On the other extreme end of the spectrum, high school students in Finland get less than three hours of homework per week.
But in the US, the standard for decades has been the “10-minute rule,” a guideline supported by both the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the National Education Association.
This rule recommends that students are assigned a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. This mean that a third-grader, for example, should do 30 minutes of homework each night. When they reach high school, this goes up to about two hours each night.
Proposed by Harris Cooper of Duke University, the leading researcher on homework, middle-school students are recommended to do take on 90 minutes per day of homework – this is the optimal figure to enhance their academic achievement. For high school students, they should aim for 90 minutes to two and a half hours per day.
OECD data show 15-year-olds are assigned 6.1 hours of homework per week. This largely corresponds with a 2003 research from the Brookings Institution and the Rand Corporation.
The research had found that despite popular assumption, the majority of students in US schools only spend less than an hour a day on homework. This figure applies regardless of grade level and has been so for most of the past five decades, according to research from the Brookings Institution.
“Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree.” Here’s what the research shows for different grade levels. https://t.co/s3MLK1Uj8n — edutopia (@edutopia) September 28, 2019
In the updated 2014 version , research again shows “little evidence that the homework load has increased for the average student” despite news reports depicting students are now burdened by so much homework that their health and well-being are under attack. Those assigned more than two hours of homework per night are a minority, the research found.
“In national polls, parents are more likely to say their children have too little homework than too much. And a solid majority says the amount of their children’s homework is about right,” the report said.
For the minority who are struggling with too much homework daily, studies show this would cause them more harm than good.
When middle school students were assigned more than 90-100 minutes of homework daily, they ended up performing worse on maths and science, one 2015 study found. It could also be counter-productive once fatigue, stress, and a loss of interest in academics set in.
But all this focus on numbers should not distract us from the quality of homework set. Different students have different capabilities. Struggling students – or economically disadvantaged ones – may end up taking twice as much time to complete an assignment compared to a more able peer.
Writing in Education Next , Janine Bempechat, a clinical professor of human development at the Boston University defined high-quality homework as: “Assignments that are developmentally appropriate and meaningful and that promote self-efficacy and self-regulation. Meaningful homework is authentic, allowing students to engage in solving problems with real-world relevance. More specifically, homework tasks should make efficient use of student time and have a clear purpose connected to what they are learning.”
More quality in homework also makes students believe in their competence when they accomplish something, especially for struggling students.
“Students whose teachers have trained them to adopt strategies such as goal setting, self-monitoring, and planning develop a number of personal assets—improved time management, increased self-efficacy, greater effort and interest, a desire for mastery, and a decrease in helplessness,” Bempechat wrote.
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How Much Homework Is Enough? Depends Who You Ask
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Editor’s note: This is an adapted excerpt from You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education ( Viking)—the latest book by author and speaker Sir Ken Robinson (co-authored with Lou Aronica), published in March. For years, Robinson has been known for his radical work on rekindling creativity and passion in schools, including three bestselling books (also with Aronica) on the topic. His TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” holds the record for the most-viewed TED talk of all time, with more than 50 million views. While Robinson’s latest book is geared toward parents, it also offers educators a window into the kinds of education concerns parents have for their children, including on the quality and quantity of homework.
The amount of homework young people are given varies a lot from school to school and from grade to grade. In some schools and grades, children have no homework at all. In others, they may have 18 hours or more of homework every week. In the United States, the accepted guideline, which is supported by both the National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association, is the 10-minute rule: Children should have no more than 10 minutes of homework each day for each grade reached. In 1st grade, children should have 10 minutes of daily homework; in 2nd grade, 20 minutes; and so on to the 12th grade, when on average they should have 120 minutes of homework each day, which is about 10 hours a week. It doesn’t always work out that way.
In 2013, the University of Phoenix College of Education commissioned a survey of how much homework teachers typically give their students. From kindergarten to 5th grade, it was just under three hours per week; from 6th to 8th grade, it was 3.2 hours; and from 9th to 12th grade, it was 3.5 hours.
There are two points to note. First, these are the amounts given by individual teachers. To estimate the total time children are expected to spend on homework, you need to multiply these hours by the number of teachers they work with. High school students who work with five teachers in different curriculum areas may find themselves with 17.5 hours or more of homework a week, which is the equivalent of a part-time job. The other factor is that these are teachers’ estimates of the time that homework should take. The time that individual children spend on it will be more or less than that, according to their abilities and interests. One child may casually dash off a piece of homework in half the time that another will spend laboring through in a cold sweat.
Do students have more homework these days than previous generations? Given all the variables, it’s difficult to say. Some studies suggest they do. In 2007, a study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that, on average, high school students spent around seven hours a week on homework. A similar study in 1994 put the average at less than five hours a week. Mind you, I [Robinson] was in high school in England in the 1960s and spent a lot more time than that—though maybe that was to do with my own ability. One way of judging this is to look at how much homework your own children are given and compare it to what you had at the same age.
Many parents find it difficult to help their children with subjects they’ve not studied themselves for a long time, if at all.
There’s also much debate about the value of homework. Supporters argue that it benefits children, teachers, and parents in several ways:
- Children learn to deepen their understanding of specific content, to cover content at their own pace, to become more independent learners, to develop problem-solving and time-management skills, and to relate what they learn in school to outside activities.
- Teachers can see how well their students understand the lessons; evaluate students’ individual progress, strengths, and weaknesses; and cover more content in class.
- Parents can engage practically in their children’s education, see firsthand what their children are being taught in school, and understand more clearly how they’re getting on—what they find easy and what they struggle with in school.
Want to know more about Sir Ken Robinson? Check out our Q&A with him.
Q&A With Sir Ken Robinson
Ashley Norris is assistant dean at the University of Phoenix College of Education. Commenting on her university’s survey, she says, “Homework helps build confidence, responsibility, and problem-solving skills that can set students up for success in high school, college, and in the workplace.”
That may be so, but many parents find it difficult to help their children with subjects they’ve not studied themselves for a long time, if at all. Families have busy lives, and it can be hard for parents to find time to help with homework alongside everything else they have to cope with. Norris is convinced it’s worth the effort, especially, she says, because in many schools, the nature of homework is changing. One influence is the growing popularity of the so-called flipped classroom.
In the stereotypical classroom, the teacher spends time in class presenting material to the students. Their homework consists of assignments based on that material. In the flipped classroom, the teacher provides the students with presentational materials—videos, slides, lecture notes—which the students review at home and then bring questions and ideas to school where they work on them collaboratively with the teacher and other students. As Norris notes, in this approach, homework extends the boundaries of the classroom and reframes how time in school can be used more productively, allowing students to “collaborate on learning, learn from each other, maybe critique [each other’s work], and share those experiences.”
Even so, many parents and educators are increasingly concerned that homework, in whatever form it takes, is a bridge too far in the pressured lives of children and their families. It takes away from essential time for their children to relax and unwind after school, to play, to be young, and to be together as a family. On top of that, the benefits of homework are often asserted, but they’re not consistent, and they’re certainly not guaranteed.
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