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The Pros and Cons of Homework
Homework is a word that most students dread hearing. After hours upon hours of sitting in class , the last thing we want is more schoolwork over our precious weekends. While it’s known to be a staple of traditional schooling, homework has also become a rather divise topic. Some feel as though homework is a necessary part of school, while others believe that the time could be better invested. Should students have homework? Have a closer look into the arguments on both sides to decide for yourself.
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Why should students have homework, 1. homework encourages practice.
Many people believe that one of the positive effects of homework is that it encourages the discipline of practice. While it may be time consuming and boring compared to other activities, repetition is needed to get better at skills. Homework helps make concepts more clear, and gives students more opportunities when starting their career .
2. Homework Gets Parents Involved
Homework can be something that gets parents involved in their children’s lives if the environment is a healthy one. A parent helping their child with homework makes them take part in their academic success, and allows for the parent to keep up with what the child is doing in school. It can also be a chance to connect together.
3. Homework Teaches Time Management
Homework is much more than just completing the assigned tasks. Homework can develop time management skills , forcing students to plan their time and make sure that all of their homework assignments are done on time. By learning to manage their time, students also practice their problem-solving skills and independent thinking. One of the positive effects of homework is that it forces decision making and compromises to be made.
4. Homework Opens A Bridge Of Communication
Homework creates a connection between the student, the teacher, the school, and the parents. It allows everyone to get to know each other better, and parents can see where their children are struggling. In the same sense, parents can also see where their children are excelling. Homework in turn can allow for a better, more targeted educational plan for the student.
5. Homework Allows For More Learning Time
Homework allows for more time to complete the learning process. School hours are not always enough time for students to really understand core concepts, and homework can counter the effects of time shortages, benefiting students in the long run, even if they can’t see it in the moment.
6. Homework Reduces Screen Time
Many students in North America spend far too many hours watching TV. If they weren’t in school, these numbers would likely increase even more. Although homework is usually undesired, it encourages better study habits and discourages spending time in front of the TV. Homework can be seen as another extracurricular activity, and many families already invest a lot of time and money in different clubs and lessons to fill up their children’s extra time. Just like extracurricular activities, homework can be fit into one’s schedule.
The Other Side: Why Homework Is Bad
1. homework encourages a sedentary lifestyle.
Should students have homework? Well, that depends on where you stand. There are arguments both for the advantages and the disadvantages of homework.
While classroom time is important, playground time is just as important. If children are given too much homework, they won’t have enough playtime, which can impact their social development and learning. Studies have found that those who get more play get better grades in school , as it can help them pay closer attention in the classroom.
Children are already sitting long hours in the classroom, and homework assignments only add to these hours. Sedentary lifestyles can be dangerous and can cause health problems such as obesity. Homework takes away from time that could be spent investing in physical activity.
2. Homework Isn’t Healthy In Every Home
While many people that think homes are a beneficial environment for children to learn, not all homes provide a healthy environment, and there may be very little investment from parents. Some parents do not provide any kind of support or homework help, and even if they would like to, due to personal barriers, they sometimes cannot. Homework can create friction between children and their parents, which is one of the reasons why homework is bad .
3. Homework Adds To An Already Full-Time Job
School is already a full-time job for students, as they generally spend over 6 hours each day in class. Students also often have extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art that are just as important as their traditional courses. Adding on extra hours to all of these demands is a lot for children to manage, and prevents students from having extra time to themselves for a variety of creative endeavors. Homework prevents self discovery and having the time to learn new skills outside of the school system. This is one of the main disadvantages of homework.
4. Homework Has Not Been Proven To Provide Results
Endless surveys have found that homework creates a negative attitude towards school, and homework has not been found to be linked to a higher level of academic success.
The positive effects of homework have not been backed up enough. While homework may help some students improve in specific subjects, if they have outside help there is no real proof that homework makes for improvements.
It can be a challenge to really enforce the completion of homework, and students can still get decent grades without doing their homework. Extra school time does not necessarily mean better grades — quality must always come before quantity.
Accurate practice when it comes to homework simply isn’t reliable. Homework could even cause opposite effects if misunderstood, especially since the reliance is placed on the student and their parents — one of the major reasons as to why homework is bad. Many students would rather cheat in class to avoid doing their homework at home, and children often just copy off of each other or from what they read on the internet.
5. Homework Assignments Are Overdone
The general agreement is that students should not be given more than 10 minutes a day per grade level. What this means is that a first grader should be given a maximum of 10 minutes of homework, while a second grader receives 20 minutes, etc. Many students are given a lot more homework than the recommended amount, however.
On average, college students spend as much as 3 hours per night on homework . By giving too much homework, it can increase stress levels and lead to burn out. This in turn provides an opposite effect when it comes to academic success.
The pros and cons of homework are both valid, and it seems as though the question of ‘‘should students have homework?’ is not a simple, straightforward one. Parents and teachers often are found to be clashing heads, while the student is left in the middle without much say.
It’s important to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of homework, taking both perspectives into conversation to find a common ground. At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is the success of the student.
Home » Pros and Cons » 24 Top Pros and Cons of Homework
24 Top Pros and Cons of Homework
When you were a kid, how much did you love homework? There were times that homework could be fun. There were also times that you’d rush through that homework, just so you could go play outside.
Assigning homework to students as early as kindergarten has become a divisive debate. There are those who believe that doing homework consistently allows for learning concepts, which are taught at school, to be reinforced at home. There are also those who believe that kids are distracted at home and that homework is a secondary priority.
The top pros and cons of homework help to outline the various key points of this debate.
List of the Top Pros of Homework
1. it can be fun, just like any other home activity..
Homework is often a distraction because it is allowed to be one. If parents become involved with the homework process and incorporate it into the family routine, it can become fun. Homework can be turned into games, into activities, or even family outings. It doesn’t have to be a formalized process where students sit at a table and memorize charts and formulas or complete busy-work.
2. It can take kids away from computers, TVs, and mobile devices.
Today’s students spend almost as much time at school as they do watching TV or using an electronic device. Students spend up to 4 hours per school night on electronic devices an up to 8 hours per weekend day. By encouraging homework, the amount of time being spend in front of screens can be reduced. In return, there is a lower risk of eye strain, myopia, headaches, and other issues that are associated with high levels of screen use.
3. It extends the learning process throughout the day.
Most school subjects are limited to 30-60 minutes of instruction per day. Specialty subjects, such as art and music, may be limited to 1-2 hours per week. Sending homework allows students to have their learning process extended in these areas, allowing them to develop a deeper knowledge, interest, or passion about certain matters. Time shortages can create knowledge gaps. Homework can help to lessen or eliminate those gaps.
4. It provides a safe learning environment.
Not every child goes home to a safe home environment. Not every child goes to a safe school environment either. There will always be exceptions, but homework does generally allow a student to study in a place where they are comfortable. The benefits of this process include improved information retention, higher levels of interest in specific subject matter, and improved parent/child communication.
5. It requires students to learn time management.
Homework can involve many different tasks. It becomes necessary for students to manage their time wisely to ensure they can get their work finished on time. It encourages students to set priorities for their time, so they can accomplish their goals and not feel like they missed out on something. This process encourages problem-solving, creative thinking, and personal responsibility. These benefits don’t just stop with the student either. Families must learn time management to accommodate the homework needs as well.
6. It creates communication networks.
For homework to be effective, there must be two communication networks present. Parents and children must form a network. Parents and teachers must also form a network. By sending homework on a regular basis, these networks stay activated so that the student can receive an individualized learning opportunity. Parents understand the teachers better. Teachers understand the students better. Students, though they may hate the homework, can understand their lessons better. It becomes a winning situation for everyone involved.
7. It can foster deeper parent/child relationships.
Parents are very busy today. About 60% of all two-parent families have both parents employed. In single-parent families, the amount of contact time a parent might have with their child could be as little as 2-3 hours per day. Homework is an opportunity for parents to provide their wisdom and expertise to their children in a way that benefits everyone. Not only is information passed along, but every homework opportunity is also a chance for parents and children to foster deeper relationships with one another.
8. It lets parents know what their children are learning.
Even parents who are classroom chaperones don’t get to see everything their child is learning each day. Homework is an opportunity to know what is being taught by their child’s teacher. Not only does this help to engage the learning process for everyone, it also provides a chance for parents to ask questions about the curriculum or express concerns they may have.
9. It encourages discipline.
Repeating the same tasks on a daily basis is far from the definition of “fun” for the average person. Without repetition, however, it is difficult to improve personal skills or discover new talents. Homework is an opportunity to lay the framework of discipline that can last for a lifetime. Sometimes, homework isn’t about the actual work that needs to be finished. It is about learning how to manage oneself so that personal goals can be consistently achieved.
10. It sets the stage for a vocational career.
Many vocations require their workers to be available at different hours during the day. Some require employees to be ready, in an on-call status. An important work project might need to be completed at home. When teachers and schools send homework with a student, it is an opportunity to learn what the world is really like. There are some days when extended work is required. In return, once that work is completed, you get to do all the fun things you want to do.
11. It is an opportunity to find pride in one’s work.
Doing a good job on something feels good. It gives you confidence and boosts your self-esteem. Homework can provide these benefits, especially when the work meets or exceeds expectations. Finding pride in one’s work can help students determine who they want to be when they grow up.
List of the Top Cons of Homework
1. it eliminates play time from a child’s routine..
Many children already put in the same number of hours for their schooling and activities as their parents do with their full-time jobs. Sports, clubs, Girl or Boy Scouts, church activities, and more are all part of the modern routine. There needs to be time for playing in there as well and homework can take that time away. When children aren’t given time to play, they have lower levels of personal safety awareness, have lower average grades, and have a higher risk of health concerns.
2. It is often graded on benchmarks instead of personal achievement.
The goal of homework is to increase personal knowledge in a specific area. The reasons for this need are often mixed. It is often assigned to improve a specific test score instead of improving a specific personal skill or habit. Since homework is often completed at a time when children feel tired after school, the amount of information they retain is limited. If stress, anxiety, or even hunger are added into the mix, the results of homework can be negligible or even negative.
3. It can be used to offset teaching shortfalls.
The general rule of homework is that 10 minutes per day should be assigned at maximum, based on the grade level of the student. Since kindergarten is essentially Grade 0 in the United States, that would mean no homework should be sent. A 1st grader should receive 10 minutes per day at maximum, a 2nd grader should receive 20 minutes, and so forth. Yet, in the U.S., the average 1st grader comes home with 20 minutes of homework – double the recommended amount. That means it is being used more for educational shortfalls than for student development in many cases.
4. It reduces the amount of outdoor time.
As homework responsibilities have risen, the amount of time children spent outside playing has decreased. In the past generation, the amount of outdoor play time has been almost cut in half. At the same time, homework assignments have risen by an almost equal level. The average amount of homework assign to a high school senior in the U.S. is 3 hours per day at high-performing schools. That means some students work longer hours in their education than their parents do for their full-time job.
5. It encourages shortcuts.
Students assigned high levels of homework begin to look for ways to reduce their time commitments. That means trying to find shortcuts to the process. That might mean a decision to cheat on a difficult assignment. It could mean a student decides to put in a 50% effort to have more energy to do something else later in the day. Many families with multiple children do their homework together just to save time. That reduces the effectiveness of what the homework is supposed to accomplish.
6. It may be beyond the parent’s scope of knowledge.
Changing lesson plans mean homework assignments follow different rules than parents may know compared to their time in school. Common Core mathematics is one of the best examples of this. If parents cannot help with the core concepts of a homework assignment and do not have access to helpful information, then the purpose of the homework is lost. The results can be detrimental to the learning process. It can even rob students and parents of their confidence.
7. It isn’t something that can be enforced.
Refusing to do homework is not against the law. Some students may decide that the consequences they receive at school for not doing their homework are worth the time-savings they receive in not doing it. Motivation can be a tricky thing. Unless there is value in the homework being sent home on some level, there will always be a handful of students in every school who decide that the effort of doing the work isn’t valuable enough to them.
8. It decreases the development of creative processes.
Homework is usually structured around the completion of a specific assignment. Even in art, music, or writing, the homework must be completed in a specific way to receive a good grade. That means homework is teaching concepts of compliance more than it is teaching concepts of skill development.
9. It reduces the amount of down time a student receives.
It is true that the average student may spend up to 4 hours every school night in front of an electronic screen. That might mean a movie, a TV show, or video games. More homework is being administered through electronic devices as well. This leaves less time for students to pursue extra-curricular activities, develop a new hobby, or spend time with their families. Excessive homework can even lead to learning burnout when it occurs for long enough.
10. It may not offer any skill improvement.
Except for outlier surveys, homework does the best job of creating a negative attitude toward learning something new. Kids don’t want to go to school because they don’t want to receive tons of homework that need to be done. Parents are even required to initial or sign an acknowledgement that the homework has been completed. If that signature doesn’t happen, who receives a consequence at school? The student. Homework can be helpful when students are falling behind their peers in specific areas, especially if private tutoring is involved, but the other benefits of homework may be overstated.
11. It adds more time to a child’s daily responsibilities.
The average school begins their day at 8am. The school day ends at 2:30 or 3:20pm. Many students can easily reach 8 hours of school responsibilities every day. Homework for the weekend may include up to another 6 hours of school responsibilities for a high-performing school. Children as young as 5 are going to formal school settings for 6-8 hours every day. Although this does accommodate the working hours of parents, it creates a huge strain on the kids. Some just feel like they don’t have time to be a kid any more.
12. It could encourage a low-movement lifestyle.
Children often sit for long periods of time when in the school environment. They often sit for long periods while completing their homework. Recent research suggests that prolonged sitting could be just as dangerous to a person’s health as smoking. With obesity levels at record highs around the world, but especially in the United States, the best homework to send home might just be to go outside to play for some time.
13. It puts some children at a disadvantage.
Not every parent is invested into their child’s education. Not every parent helps a child with the homework they have. Some parents may not even come home at night. Children that come from homes where their parents are not invested into them tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to homework. Without any home support, a child can feel like their teacher and their parents are both “out to get them.” This feeling can inspire a number of negative choices, including criminal activity.
The top pros and cons of homework often inspire a passionate debate. There are some who feel that homework is good for everyone because it encourages discipline and personal responsibility. There are some who feel that homework is bad because it takes time away from other learning opportunities. The answer likely lies somewhere in the middle here, where some homework can be good, but it should not overwhelm the student or their family.
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Is homework beneficial? The pros and cons of homework for kids.
By: Virginia | Jan 19, 2021 1:27 PM
It’s a question that looms as large as any other in the education world. Alongside standardized testing, charter schools, and other topics of vigorous debate in headlines and classrooms alike: there’s no denying that homework is a hot-button issue.
With vocal, informed advocates both for and against homework as a part of the daily academic routine, who’s right here? Is homework actually beneficial for kids? And based on that answer, is it necessary?
It’s not just about achievement, test scores, and readiness for college and careers. Homework’s impact on kids’ mental health and non-academic skills also must be closely examined.
Then there’s the sheer amount of it in some schools. As kids juggle enrichment activities , jobs, and family time, many parents are asking how much homework is too much homework.
Pros & Cons of Homework
Let’s dive into each of these critical questions. Don’t worry, we did our homework on this.
Pros of homework in schools
1. Research correlates homework with higher academic success for secondary students.
Duke University analyzed findings from 60 homework-related research studies and found statistically significant evidence that middle and high school students who complete homework regularly will score higher on tests and earn better grades than those who do not.
2. Experts actually agree on the right amount of homework
The “ 10-minute rule ” is widely accepted as the best measurement of homework in terms of quantity. It goes like this: in 1st grade, kids should have 10 minutes of homework, 20 minutes in 2nd grade, and so on until about 2 hours of homework in 12th grade.
Among many educational experts, the National PTA and National Education Association (parents and teachers) agree that, if these length guidelines are followed, homework benefits students.
3. Homework gives families a valuable window into life at school
It can help parents and families support their children in multiple ways. Homework offers a tangible snapshot into what (and how) kids are learning, allowing parents to engage with their children in meaningful conversations about school.
Points of success and confusion, furthermore, can help parents identify learning needs that need special attention, like gifted and talented programs, special education services, or custom academic support.
4. High quality homework assignments enrich students’ learning
There is well-documented evidence that, when designed correctly, homework enriches students’ engagement with academic material.
- Overall literacy increases when students are assigned choice reading.
- Math skills increase with independent practice, and technology can help .
-Across disciplines, effective homework assignments increase students’ retrieval abilities , aka the ability to remember information and reapply skills on their own.
-Effective homework assignments are a logical extension of the “ I do/we do/ you do ” teaching model, a widely accepted best practice across disciplines.
5. A solid homework routine helps kids develop life skills
The Duke study mentioned earlier also found that students build important skills like conscientiousness, time management, organization, and prioritization by doing their homework.
There’s no doubt about it: kids will need these skills in college, future careers, and to lead balanced, happy lives. By managing homework responsibilities, kids can build vital skill sets like a “ growth mindset ,” Stephen Covey’s widely lauded 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids & Teens , and the grit necessary to persevere through challenges .
Cons of Homework in Schools
1. Too much homework is detrimental to students and counterproductive to learning
A “more is more” attitude is demonstrably unhelpful and unfounded in the homework conversation.
It’s easier said than done to hit that 10-minute sweet spot across grade levels, and missing the mark is detrimental to students. In fact, studies show that too much homework can undo learning in addition causing mental health issues , which is damaging to children in and outside the classroom.
2. There is a lack of evidence surrounding homework at the elementary level
Educational research has yet to successfully demonstrate a tie between homework and academic success in elementary school .
This raises important questions and concerns about the efficacy of homework for young students. Key among them is the worry that dreading homework from an early age will negatively impact attitudes towards school and learning for years to come.
3. Homework, especially tasks that require/benefit from technology, exacerbates achievement gaps between privileged and disadvantaged students
Think about it. Successful homework completion hinges on things not all students have: quiet, safe space at home, ample school supplies, time after school not spent working/ caring for younger siblings, and internet access (not only for online homework , but research, and more).
The list goes on, so why does the homework brush treat students of all backgrounds the same?
Plus, teachers and other school leaders who make decisions regarding homework don’t always understand or adequately weigh these factors. As a result, homework might perpetuate the problematic inequalities that exist in K-12 education.
4. Homework routines increase stress for the whole family
Many families dread “the homework battle,” and with good reason. Not all parents have the knowledge, time, or (frankly) patience to be homework monitors, and not all students have the self-regulatory skills to do so themselves.
And then comes the deluge of distractions.
Getting those under control is like a miserable game of whack-a-mole for families and students alike. According to a recent poll , 80% of parents identify distractibility as the #1 detractor from successful homework completion.
The sheer number of distractors (social media, games, apps, texting) that will always be more fun than kids’ science homework just seems to keep growing. It’s undoubtedly challenging and stressful to deal with these, especially when the homework battle usurps quality time together.
Considerations for Elementary School
There are specific pros and cons of homework in elementary school that are worth reviewing separately here. Like I mentioned, it’s worth noting that research is limited regarding the benefits of homework in grades K-4. And for many, “preparation for secondary school” isn’t a sufficient reason in and of itself to incorporate it into elementary grades. Throw in the research about how much kids learn through play at this age, and it’s certainly worth asking if homework is worth it for younger kids.
That said, the advised amount of time for elementary school kids should be 10 minutes maximum in 1st grade, 40 minutes at maximum in 4th grade, which should not be a challenge for most kids. The question becomes what skills a homework routine adds into the school routine, just as much as what kind of assignments youngsters receive.
Considerations for High School
Kids get increasingly busy in secondary grades (as any parent knows), so the pros and cons of homework in high school become a part of an increasingly complex schedule equation.
Juggling academics, sports, jobs, and other extracurricular activities is no easy feat, and there can seem to be too few hours in a day to get it all done. That feeling already causes stress for many teens, adding to the mental health challenges they often face at this age.
So, what are the benefits of homework in middle school onwards? Research correlates a regular homework routine with increased long-term academic success. Middle and high school are developmentally critical in cognitive growth; critical thinking, planning, executive functioning, and judgement can all be supported by quality homework routine. College and career-bound kids learn all kinds of valuable life skills, and it’s an important opportunity to practice the academic skills that become increasingly applicable in real life.
The bottoms line is: at this age, balance matters more than ever.
My take on just how beneficial & necessary homework is:
If I didn’t take a stance here, my former students would rightly point out I’m not taking my own advice (and wouldn’t pass the rubric I used to assess their writing).
Based on the existing evidence and personal experience, my take is this: academically enriching, developmentally appropriate homework is beneficial to students on the whole.
I also think there is a lot of work to be done to realize these benefits. The evidence clearly demonstrates that excessive or arbitrary homework assignments do more harm than good.
If homework is here to stay, schools need to get to work in improving its quality, implementation, and constant evaluation within the education community. Families need to get involved and step up at-home support.
It’s past time to tackle the inequalities the homework issue exposes in public schools among other the many challenges outlined above. It is the responsibility of teachers, students, families, and their school communities to navigate these challenges and maximize positive outcomes for kids.
So what’s next?
Glad you asked! A lot needs to happen to make homework actually work for students, so I’ll focus on what’s within reach for action steps. Here are a few recommendations:
Advocate for quality homework assignments. This needs to be a part of teacher training and professional development as well as ongoing conversations between families and schools. These could well be tough conversations, but they’re well worth having.
Talk with your student and school professionals about kids’ mental health. In my opinion, this is as important a conversation as any in schools, but it isn’t currently given the time and attention it deserves—not even close. Reach out to your child’s school to get the ball rolling if needed!
Ask for help! Seriously, don’t be shy. Teachers and other school professionals can’t drive to your house and supervise homework time themselves, but most would be happy to provide advice and/or resources. They know your child too and can add valuable insight into their needs.
Encourage learning outside of school AND beyond homework worksheets. Seemingly endless/excessive practice of anything will inevitably lead to kids feeling discouraged. Revitalize learning for the whole family with a fun read, interesting documentary, or trip to a museum or park.
It’s our mission at iD Tech to help kids thrive, and we love sharing insights with our community along the way to achieving that mission!
For more resources, check out our recent posts on Zoom school etiquette and safety and goal-setting strategies for kids .
Virginia started with iD Tech at the University of Denver in 2015 and has loved every minute since then! A former teacher by trade, she has a master's in education and loves working to embolden the next generation through STEM. Outside the office, you can usually find her reading a good book, struggling on a yoga mat, or exploring the Rocky Mountains.
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Is homework a necessary evil?
After decades of debate, researchers are still sorting out the truth about homework’s pros and cons. One point they can agree on: Quality assignments matter.
By Kirsten Weir
March 2016, Vol 47, No. 3
Print version: page 36
- Schools and Classrooms
Homework battles have raged for decades. For as long as kids have been whining about doing their homework, parents and education reformers have complained that homework's benefits are dubious. Meanwhile many teachers argue that take-home lessons are key to helping students learn. Now, as schools are shifting to the new (and hotly debated) Common Core curriculum standards, educators, administrators and researchers are turning a fresh eye toward the question of homework's value.
But when it comes to deciphering the research literature on the subject, homework is anything but an open book.
The 10-minute rule
In many ways, homework seems like common sense. Spend more time practicing multiplication or studying Spanish vocabulary and you should get better at math or Spanish. But it may not be that simple.
Homework can indeed produce academic benefits, such as increased understanding and retention of the material, says Duke University social psychologist Harris Cooper, PhD, one of the nation's leading homework researchers. But not all students benefit. In a review of studies published from 1987 to 2003, Cooper and his colleagues found that homework was linked to better test scores in high school and, to a lesser degree, in middle school. Yet they found only faint evidence that homework provided academic benefit in elementary school ( Review of Educational Research , 2006).
Then again, test scores aren't everything. Homework proponents also cite the nonacademic advantages it might confer, such as the development of personal responsibility, good study habits and time-management skills. But as to hard evidence of those benefits, "the jury is still out," says Mollie Galloway, PhD, associate professor of educational leadership at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. "I think there's a focus on assigning homework because [teachers] think it has these positive outcomes for study skills and habits. But we don't know for sure that's the case."
Even when homework is helpful, there can be too much of a good thing. "There is a limit to how much kids can benefit from home study," Cooper says. He agrees with an oft-cited rule of thumb that students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high school. Both the National Education Association and National Parent Teacher Association support that limit.
Beyond that point, kids don't absorb much useful information, Cooper says. In fact, too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.
In a recent study of Spanish students, Rubén Fernández-Alonso, PhD, and colleagues found that students who were regularly assigned math and science homework scored higher on standardized tests. But when kids reported having more than 90 to 100 minutes of homework per day, scores declined ( Journal of Educational Psychology , 2015).
"At all grade levels, doing other things after school can have positive effects," Cooper says. "To the extent that homework denies access to other leisure and community activities, it's not serving the child's best interest."
Children of all ages need down time in order to thrive, says Denise Pope, PhD, a professor of education at Stanford University and a co-founder of Challenge Success, a program that partners with secondary schools to implement policies that improve students' academic engagement and well-being.
"Little kids and big kids need unstructured time for play each day," she says. Certainly, time for physical activity is important for kids' health and well-being. But even time spent on social media can help give busy kids' brains a break, she says.
All over the map
But are teachers sticking to the 10-minute rule? Studies attempting to quantify time spent on homework are all over the map, in part because of wide variations in methodology, Pope says.
A 2014 report by the Brookings Institution examined the question of homework, comparing data from a variety of sources. That report cited findings from a 2012 survey of first-year college students in which 38.4 percent reported spending six hours or more per week on homework during their last year of high school. That was down from 49.5 percent in 1986 ( The Brown Center Report on American Education , 2014).
The Brookings report also explored survey data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which asked 9-, 13- and 17-year-old students how much homework they'd done the previous night. They found that between 1984 and 2012, there was a slight increase in homework for 9-year-olds, but homework amounts for 13- and 17-year-olds stayed roughly the same, or even decreased slightly.
Yet other evidence suggests that some kids might be taking home much more work than they can handle. Robert Pressman, PhD, and colleagues recently investigated the 10-minute rule among more than 1,100 students, and found that elementary-school kids were receiving up to three times as much homework as recommended. As homework load increased, so did family stress, the researchers found ( American Journal of Family Therapy , 2015).
Many high school students also seem to be exceeding the recommended amounts of homework. Pope and Galloway recently surveyed more than 4,300 students from 10 high-achieving high schools. Students reported bringing home an average of just over three hours of homework nightly ( Journal of Experiential Education , 2013).
On the positive side, students who spent more time on homework in that study did report being more behaviorally engaged in school — for instance, giving more effort and paying more attention in class, Galloway says. But they were not more invested in the homework itself. They also reported greater academic stress and less time to balance family, friends and extracurricular activities. They experienced more physical health problems as well, such as headaches, stomach troubles and sleep deprivation. "Three hours per night is too much," Galloway says.
In the high-achieving schools Pope and Galloway studied, more than 90 percent of the students go on to college. There's often intense pressure to succeed academically, from both parents and peers. On top of that, kids in these communities are often overloaded with extracurricular activities, including sports and clubs. "They're very busy," Pope says. "Some kids have up to 40 hours a week — a full-time job's worth — of extracurricular activities." And homework is yet one more commitment on top of all the others.
"Homework has perennially acted as a source of stress for students, so that piece of it is not new," Galloway says. "But especially in upper-middle-class communities, where the focus is on getting ahead, I think the pressure on students has been ratcheted up."
Yet homework can be a problem at the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum as well. Kids from wealthier homes are more likely to have resources such as computers, Internet connections, dedicated areas to do schoolwork and parents who tend to be more educated and more available to help them with tricky assignments. Kids from disadvantaged homes are more likely to work at afterschool jobs, or to be home without supervision in the evenings while their parents work multiple jobs, says Lea Theodore, PhD, a professor of school psychology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. They are less likely to have computers or a quiet place to do homework in peace.
"Homework can highlight those inequities," she says.
Quantity vs. quality
One point researchers agree on is that for all students, homework quality matters. But too many kids are feeling a lack of engagement with their take-home assignments, many experts say. In Pope and Galloway's research, only 20 percent to 30 percent of students said they felt their homework was useful or meaningful.
"Students are assigned a lot of busywork. They're naming it as a primary stressor, but they don't feel it's supporting their learning," Galloway says.
"Homework that's busywork is not good for anyone," Cooper agrees. Still, he says, different subjects call for different kinds of assignments. "Things like vocabulary and spelling are learned through practice. Other kinds of courses require more integration of material and drawing on different skills."
But critics say those skills can be developed with many fewer hours of homework each week. Why assign 50 math problems, Pope asks, when 10 would be just as constructive? One Advanced Placement biology teacher she worked with through Challenge Success experimented with cutting his homework assignments by a third, and then by half. "Test scores didn't go down," she says. "You can have a rigorous course and not have a crazy homework load."
Still, changing the culture of homework won't be easy. Teachers-to-be get little instruction in homework during their training, Pope says. And despite some vocal parents arguing that kids bring home too much homework, many others get nervous if they think their child doesn't have enough. "Teachers feel pressured to give homework because parents expect it to come home," says Galloway. "When it doesn't, there's this idea that the school might not be doing its job."
Galloway argues teachers and school administrators need to set clear goals when it comes to homework — and parents and students should be in on the discussion, too. "It should be a broader conversation within the community, asking what's the purpose of homework? Why are we giving it? Who is it serving? Who is it not serving?"
Until schools and communities agree to take a hard look at those questions, those backpacks full of take-home assignments will probably keep stirring up more feelings than facts.
- Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research, 76 (1), 1–62. doi: 10.3102/00346543076001001
- Galloway, M., Connor, J., & Pope, D. (2013). Nonacademic effects of homework in privileged, high-performing high schools. The Journal of Experimental Education, 81 (4), 490–510. doi: 10.1080/00220973.2012.745469
- Pope, D., Brown, M., & Miles, S. (2015). Overloaded and underprepared: Strategies for stronger schools and healthy, successful kids . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Letters to the Editor
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No More Homework
Homework is just too much to deal with these days. It takes time away from being a kid, having family time, and just doing what you want to do.
October 21, 2016
Dear Future President:
Homework and state tests should not tell you how intelligent you are. People struggle on tests, and people don’t have time to do homework. First, it has become more important over the years because schools are giving us way more homework and states are testing the children more than needed. Mostly, the kids are impacted, but also the teachers because they have to grade papers.
“My reason for banning homework is because kids are having their time taking away by homework from spending time with the family or just enjoying life” ("Homework should be banned"). This quote shows that kids don’t have time to spend with their families or just enjoy life. I know a lot of kids that hate doing homework instead of hanging out with their families.
“Kids are also losing time to play outside or play sports and be active with other kids” ("12 pros and cons of standardized testing"). Kids are losing the time that they get to play outside or play sports and just be active because of all the homework that is being given to them.
Some might say that kids have homework, so they won’t forget what they learned in school that day or they have homework for more practice. This is not true because kids won’t forget in 24 hours about how to do a math problem or write a paragraph; they will remember. Some might also say, “most students in the United States do not have unreasonable homework loads” (Cooper) . All the kids that have homework, have a lot of homework.
Without a doubt we should either ban homework or lower the amount to let’s say 1 homework assignment peer class? Homework is just way too much to deal with, also it takes time away from a kid trying to be a kid.
Students shouldn’t have homework because it is a waste of time, and it doesn’t mean anything to the kids. Thank you future President for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my letter.
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The Pros and Cons of Homework Essay
- 6 Works Cited
Should American Students Get Less Homework
Too much homework can cause stress and other health issues. Also, students are working more than the recommended amount of time on homework, and this takes away from family time and free time, as well as time for sleep. When it comes to doing homework, students also want time to relax and enjoy other activities. Shouldn’t students get less homework so that they can be happy and have more time with family and friends? Administrators, teachers, students, and parents need to address this issue and inform people about the effects of homework on students in America. If teachers and parents tried to reduce the amount of homework there would be a decrease in stress and anxiety and an increase in happiness! “Homework makes it so I can’t spend time with my kids and family and I resent
Comparing The Arguments For More Or Less Homework
Despite bearing some minor similarities, the differences between the arguments for more or less homework are remarkable. It is important to see both the positive and negative viewpoints, because homework is something that every student will have to deal with. It can be stressful with extracurricular activities and at some points may seem useless. However, homework is beneficial for understanding the material, and keeping kids out of trouble. Overall, I believe that even though homework may be excessive at some points, it can be extremely beneficial for the future.
Why Kids Should Not Have Homework
In an article by Marzano and Pickering it states that homework may no be an effective in educational tool. Homework is just busy work most of the time. Therefore, the extra homework doesn't help with student achievement. Inappropriate homework may produce little or no benefit, it might even decrease achievement, according to Marzano and Pickering. Homework can cause stress and when they're stressed all the homework they have doesn’t help. Let's imagine that you have homework for every class due the next day and sports as soon as you get home from school; it's a lot of stress. Marzano and Pickering say , teachers aren't well trained in how to assign homework. Moat teachers hand out mainly busy work, and aren't trained well enough to zhand out propor
The Negative Effects Of Homework On Students In Elementary School
In almost all schools, teachers assign homework assignments to students starting in elementary school. When students begin to grow older and are faced with more challenging classes in junior high and high school, the workload begins to pile up. Students are now becoming more stressed and have anxiety because of the amount of work that is placed on them which is even taking a toll on their family life. Many students end up completing the assignment in order to just get credit for it without a regard for learning. But over the years, homework has begun to lose its purpose. Instead of the students focusing on only completing their homework in order to get good grades, they should be more focused on learning the material that they are studying. Without truly understanding the material in the classes that students might be taking, school is essentially a waste of time. The effects of mass quantities of schoolwork on students that are given by teachers leads students to underperform in school due to the mental stress and anxiety.
Why Is Homework Bad
Many teachers in today's schools give homework out on a daily basis, and teachers assume that it is helping students learn the information taught in the classroom. However it is doing quite the opposite causing many problems for students. There are three major impacts that homework has on students, it causes more stress, it affects the student's family, lastly it affects grades and test scores as a whole. Homework has many more negative affects on students, families, grades, and goals. However, even with the facts teachers still continue to assign busy work which is potentially dragging students down rather than helping them.
Homework Takes Away From Family Time
The amount of homework given to students should decrease. The extensive amount of homework takes away family time that is necessary to child development. Also, stress that can can come with homework can cause health issues. The amount of homework given to students can cause students to cheat off students answers because they did not finish. Also, most of the homework that is assigned is not necessary in learning the material.
Should There Be a Limit on the Amount of Homework Teachers Give to Students’?
The quality of students’ homework is much more important than the quantity of students homework and data collected during recent studies has proven that homework is not making the grade. “. . . American students are entangled in the middle of international academic rankings: 17th in reading, 23rd in science, and 31st in math according to the most recent results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)” (Murphy-Paul). Students should not be given an excessive amount of homework because the pressure of having to complete excessive amounts of homework every night is quite daunting for most students. Knowing how much homework is the right amount correlates with age and grade. An 8th grade student should not be given a myriad of homework that would keep her awake past midnight completing assignments. In any case, there should be a limit on the amount of homework all teachers give to students because an excessive amount of homework would eventually cause students to become uninterested in school and learning, which could result in poor test scores and low ranks in international academic rankings. In order for students to carry out daily activities throughout the day restfully, teachers must be able to provide homework that does not exceed the appropriate amount of time needed to complete it, which is based on grade level. If teachers are too clueless of a students health due to excessive amounts of homework, many students will develop cases of sleep
Homework Is Too Much Of Homework
Homework has been around a long time. In fact, the first school made in the world was believed to be built sometime between 140 BC and 143 BC. While studies have proven that homework can have benefits, too much of it can be bad for students. Homework can take away their time for family/activities and can cause negative health effects. The amount of homework assigned to students should be decreased.
Why Kids Should Not Have Homework Essay
Students feel more stressed and turned off to learning, which is, a lifelong pursuit when it comes to homework. Too much homework turns kids off to learning and makes them less rather than more invested in school and learning. Are children having too much homework? There has been a big disagreement about if students should have homework or students should not have homework. Some people say they should not have homework and some say they should have homework. Children should not have homework, because it wastes all of the time out of school.
The Benefits Of Homework
Not only does homework help student, but also it creates an interaction between teens and parents. However, statistics have shown that even though homework is a way to refresh what students have learned, it also creates stress for students. Homework has shown its benefits for student but most of the time when the student is given a homework it’s likely he/she will not do it. They believe it’s stressful,and when they can’t get the right answer, they gave up instantly instead of keep practicing. According to researchers, they believe that when student do more homework they get better grades and do well on the test/quizzes that were given. Even though homework has many advantages toward students, it also has disadvantages. Which include having too much homework and these things could lead to mental health issue toward students.
Negative Effects Of Homework And Its Effects On Students
How does homework affect students in academic and nonacademic ways? Both educators and students ask this infamous question throughout the course of their education tracks. Teachers and administrators often believe that homework is necessary; whereas, students often question the legitimacy of homework. However, due to new studies and research about homework, it has been proven to be insignificant, oppressive and pernicious to the student's wellness and success.
Pros And Cons Of Homework
Not only does homework help student but also it creates interaction between teens and parents. However, statics has shown that even though homework is a way to refresh what students have learned, it also create stress for students. Homework has shown its benefits for student but most of the time when student is given a homework it’s likely he/she will not do it. They believe it’s stressful,and when they can’t get the right answer, they gave up instantly instead of keep practicing. According to researchers, they believe that when student do more homework they get better grades and do well on the test/quizzes that were given. Even though homework has many advantage toward students, it also has disadvantage. Which include having too much homework and these things could lead to mental health issue toward students.
Negative Effects Of Homework
Heavy loads of homework can be shown more as harmful than good, not only for students but also for their families. As shown in Source B it says, “It is the primary arena in which children, parents and schools interact on a daily basis” (Gill and Schossman). Which I can totally disagree with from my experience, stating that every time I come from school to home, I always have to go straight to my room, turn my computer on, and either work on essays or have to search up problems for my algebra assignments, or just information for any class in general, which takes up a whole day of my life. Another reason is it is very time consuming! These homeworks are always getting in my way of either having activities after school or just time to spend with my family, which I hardly ever have a chance to do because of all the work I have, and might I also state that my mom is always worrying about my health since I usually don’t have time to eat too, also she is always asking me if I have time to read the bible with my siblings and father, which I automatically have to state I can’t because again of all this work. Another statement I have is how homework is mainly useless to our education, grabbing information from Source F, “Kids who wouldn’t dream of cheating on a test or copying a research paper think nothing of copying homework” (Chaika). Since doing homework is just such a waste for us we usually just copy it either from other people or from the internet, and since math class usually just gives a packet about what is going to be on the quiz, we end up using that to study which ends up being more helpful for the upcoming test rather than doing
We Need To Get Rid Of Homework
Homework not only takes up time but it pressures and stresses kids out. “Fifty-six per cent of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives, despite the fact that most U.S. students' homework load has remained relatively stable since 1984, according to the Brookings Institute's 2014 Brown Center Report on American Education”(Daily Mail Reporter). “Fifty-six per cent of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their
Persuasive Essay : Should Students Get Less Homework?
The majority of students have, at one point or another, wished for less homework. For some student’s homework is not a big issue but for other students it can take hours and even days to do all their homework. That wasted time could be used for enjoyment or learning life skills instead of homework. Nine in ten high school students reported feeling stressed about homework (Galloway 4). So, should students get less homework? Yes, students should receive less homework because it improves their well-being by reducing stress and its impacts on health, increasing leisure time, and showing that homework does not affect grades significantly.
- Standardized test
- High school
The Good And The Bad of Homework
Uri navarrete .
Homework has many pros and cons. Some people think homework is necessary due to the discipline it instills. Others disagree, arguing that too much homework is assigned and that there is no evidence supporting the claim that homework fosters improvement.
Homework teaches the value of practice: in order to get better at something one needs to repeat it continuously. Homework also allows parents to be involved in their children’s lives; many parents want their children to be assigned homework so they can see what their children are learning in school. In addition, by requiring that students schedule their lives to make sure everything is completed on time, homework promotes time management skills, which are important for everyday life. By taking work home, students generally have a more comfortable place to study than a normal classroom.
On the contrary, homework decreases the amount of time children can spend with their peers or their search of personal fulfillment. As a result, assigning homework can potentially lead to less character development and decreased overall mental and physical health. Homework also encourages a sedentary lifestyle, because students must be seated for long periods of time to complete assignments.
Furthermore, not every home is an ideal working environment for students, as some parents might not help their children with their homework or may even discourage them from doing homework. Homework does not address all of the learning needs that each student faces, which is one of the reasons why students have a negative attitude towards homework.
Perhaps most importantly, the practice of actually doing homework is difficult to enforce, because students manage to get good grades despite willfully ignoring homework. Also, doing homework requires a certain amount of effort that students do not want to put in because they find themselves getting caught up with other things like sports or chasing their passions.
With strong arguments on both sides, the debate over whether to assign homework or not is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, but this is definitely an area that needs further attention and reflection on the part of school administration.
What are the pro and cons of having homework?
Cite this page as follows:.
"What are the pro and cons of having homework?" eNotes Editorial , 8 May 2015, https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-pro-cons-having-homework-478932. Accessed 5 Mar. 2023.
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Educator since 2013
The pros or advantages of homework assignments are fairly universal across grades or levels of education. The cons or disadvantages, however, vary according to level of education. Educators will disagree widely on some of these points, as will parents, but what follows are the thoughts of one educator/parent.
The advantages of homework assignments lie primarily in the benefits that derive for most students from the repetition involved in repeating, conceptually, at home what was learned in school. Math homework, for instance, provides the student an opportunity to reinforce those lessons taught earlier in the day in the classroom. In science, homework assignments might involve activities that are better performed outside or in the home, such as those involving nature and certain types of experimentation. History assignments might involve the use of libraries and the Internet for the conduct of research on a given topic, such as the American Civil War, the recent British elections, or the causes of the riots that occurred in Baltimore. Such research may require periods of time not available within the highly-structured confines of the classroom. These, then, are the primary benefits of homework.
The main disadvantage of homework, especially in the earlier elementary years is the unnecessary mental pressure placed on very young children -- pressure that also comes at the expense of quality time with family and friends. Many parents of young children -- those with kids in the first through third grades -- resent homework assignments given to their children for precisely these reasons.
At the higher levels of education, especially at the university levels, homework is a necessary fact of life. Too much homework, however, can cause unnecessarily high levels of mental stress on students already burdened by heavy class loads. It is incumbent upon professors to weight carefully the amount of homework they assign their students, and to keep in mind the fact that most or all of those students have other classes with their own homework loads as well as term papers and labs for which they are responsible. A college degree should not be easy -- and a case can be made that degrees have become too easy to attain -- but neither should it come at the expense of the students' emotional well-being.
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Teachers see pros and cons of homework over break
Kentucky School for the Deaf senior Sasha Jones looks for her ornament on the Christmas tree at the Governor’s Mansion Nov. 30, 2010. Photo by Amy Wallot
By Susan Riddell
Whether high school students need to finish a term paper for U.S. History or primary students need to write a book report, student learning can easily continue over the holiday break.
The questions many teachers face, however, are how much homework do they assign and what are the best methods to make sure students still are able to focus on family time over the break.
Lois Conely is in her 28th year as an educator and her eighth year as a middle school teacher at Anchorage Elementary School (Anchorage Independent), a K-8 school.
She said keeping students consistently learning over break is important but doing so should be handled delicately.
“It helps students use and practice their skills and stay somewhat engaged with and connected to content,” Conely said. “Especially during holiday breaks, students may have family gatherings or special activities or they may travel. The students and their parents don’t need to worry about homework assignments during these times.”
Conely suggests handing out an assignment in the days leading up to the break, not the day before one starts.
“I have found it helpful to make assignments a few days in advance of the break and not due for a few days after the break so that if a student wants or needs the extended time, it is available,” she said. “In addition, if you post the homework assignment on your school website and/or notify parents via e-mail that an assignment is due, it helps students who might be unclear with directions or who need the actual assignment.”
Anchorage school district’s holiday break – like many others in the state – lasts two weeks. Conely said she doesn’t normally hand out homework strictly for the break but will offer links to websites. “I don’t do something that’s only online because some students travel and will not have access to a computer,” she said.
In past years, she has assigned a family history project that involved students interviewing family members and gathering photographs and primary source documents over the holiday breaks.
“The project was assigned several weeks prior to the break so that they could plan ahead and then use the time during holiday gatherings when they would see relatives they didn’t ordinarily see,” Conely said. “The actual project was not due for a couple of weeks after the holiday break so they had time to compile and format their work.”
Suggested Reading: How to Handle Holiday Homework
Teresa Hinton has been a 5th-grade grade teacher at Calhoun Elementary School (McLean County) for 13 years and primarily teaches mathematics. She feels strongly that students “need to practice math often to retain those skills” but said that she tends to choose not to hand out homework over the break.
“From experience I have found that most likely the only students who would actually do the assignments would be the students who don’t need the extra practice,” Hinton said. “The struggling students tend to be struggling because they rarely complete daily assignments. I consider the break a ‘break’ and remind the students that we will be ready to start back at an intensive level when we return.”
Hinton said it’s important to emphasize to students that once the break is over it’s time to really focus on learning.
“On the first week back from our break, I stress repeatedly to the students that we are going to be working hard and focusing on what needs to be learned before the end of the year,” Hinton said.
“I try to do a review-type activity when we first come back to help them get back into the flow of things. This also serves as a confidence boost to do something that they should know how to do. Sometimes, especially in math, confidence is half the battle. If the students feel that they can be successful, often times they work harder to continue to feel that success.”
MORE INFO … Lois Conely, [email protected] , (502) 245-2121 Teresa Hinton, [email protected] , (270) 273-3264
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Pros and cons of homework
Homework has long been a point of contention, with parents, teachers and education experts continually debating the merits of take-home learning. We’ve taken a look at some key arguments to provide you with a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of homework.
Develops important study skills
From time management and organisation to self-motivation and independent learning, homework teaches students a range of positive skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and working lives. Home learning motivates students to take responsibility for their workload, while also encouraging the development of positive research practices.
Opportunity to consolidate classroom learning
Homework is at its most effective when it allows students to revise what they’ve learnt in class. Assigned tasks that revisit what’s been taught during the day reinforces learnt knowledge and increases the likelihood of students remembering key information. Homework can then help students apply these learnt skills to other subjects and practical situations in their everyday lives.
Provides an indication of academic comprehension
Assigning learning tasks at home is a useful way for teachers to identify whether students are understanding the curriculum. Teachers can analyse gaps in comprehension or information through homework, making it easier for them to tailor their approach to each student’s needs – they can recognise students who need extra support in certain learning areas, while also identifying children who may benefit from more complex learning tasks.
Causes unnecessary stress
Simply uttering the word ‘homework’ can instil a sense of dread in students. When the workload is too large and tasks become increasingly difficult, homework causes students to feel anxious, stressed and unmotivated. This can lead to sleep deprivation and behavioural changes, while also ingraining homework as a negative aspect of schooling life.
Takes away from leisure time
Free time allows children to not only relax, but also discover the world on their own terms – learning how to ride a bike, reading books or interacting with friends and family teaches students useful skills that can’t be learnt by sitting at a desk. Healthy levels of physical activity, which can help to boost cognitive function, can also be impeded by sedentary time spent completing homework.
Not always effective
Plenty of studies have sought to analyse the value of homework and how it benefits academic performance. Research by John Hattie, Professor of Education at the University of Melbourne, has found that homework in primary school has an effect of around zero , as students are completing separate and unrelated projects rather than reinforcing learnt knowledge. Hattie’s work has suggested that homework only becomes effective at the primary and secondary levels when students are assigned learning tasks that ask them to revise taught information.
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Maneuvering the Middle
Student-Centered Math Lessons
Should Teachers Assign Homework?
Should teachers assign homework? Should you assign homework to your students? The answer to that question is dependent on a variety of factors, so let’s dive in.
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What is the purpose of homework?
What is your purpose behind assigning homework? Here is a quick brainstorm of how you might answer this question:
- Homework is required.
- I need a specific number of grades.
- Students need to practice.
- You believe homework builds a habit of responsibility.
The next question to ask yourself is: “Is my current situation working well?” For example, if you assign homework daily and only 50% of students complete it, then you may need to reevaluate.
Academic Pros of Homework
Homework has many benefits. Even as a student, I remember working on my math homework, and having some aha! moments. Many teachers depend on homework because their class periods are so short. Homework allows for students to practice what they learned in class when class time doesn’t allow for it.
Flipped classrooms depend on students watching videos at home. While they aren’t working problems independently, they are still learning at home. This allows them to do the majority of their work in class, removing the barrier of trying to practice something you don’t understand with no assistance.
Lastly, our brain is a muscle that does grow as we continue to use it. If learning an instrument or playing a sport requires practice, then so does math.
Social-Emotional Pros of Homework
Homework isn’t just about knowledge. Homework can build a variety of other valuable habits – responsibility, ownership of their learning, and time management.
If my students weren’t taking class work seriously, all I had to say was, “Whatever isn’t completed in class will be homework,” and students QUICKLY got back on track. Incentivizing students to use their time wisely in class can help students stay on task.
Lastly, in some cases, homework allows parents to see what their kids are learning and their child’s academic strengths/weaknesses. In years that I didn’t assign homework (when I had 90 minute classes), parents reached out often to ask what students were working on since they never saw homework.
Academic Cons of Homework
You probably don’t need me to list them because you already know! All those amazing homework pros that were listed above become moot if students don’t actually do it. Homework isn’t actually practice or an indicator of what students know because it can be copied from a friend or apps like Photomath make it super easy to cheat.
Not to mention, some students would rather just take a zero than complete the work, so now you have missing grades to deal with. And for the students who do complete their homework with fidelity, well, they can be practicing it incorrectly without immediate feedback. Which is why I highly recommend something that is self-checking like a riddle or mixed answer key.
Social Emotional Cons of Homework
While research shows that there is a correlation between completing homework and academic success, it does not show that students do better because they do their homework. Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, stated “Correlation is not causation. Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”
Some parents and teachers argue that students have already spent 8+ hours at school. Students benefit from resting, playing, and spending time with their families. The whole child should be considered.
Assign Homework, but Do It Purposefully
According to this recommendation , homework should follow the 10 minute rule. Multiply the grade level you teach by 10 and that is how many total minutes a student should have of homework of all subjects for one night. If you teach 6th grade, students should have 60 total minutes of homework a night.
With this recommendation in mind, you have to consider the varying abilities of your students. A 10 question assignment may take one student 10 minutes to complete while it may take another student 1 hour to complete.
Which leads to my next point, it has to meet students’ needs. Online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores according to this study .
These 5 questions from Edutopia give a great framework to help guide what type of homework you assign to your students.
- How long will it take to complete?
- Have all learners been considered?
- Will an assignment encourage future success?
- Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
- Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?
If you decide that homework is beneficial to your students, here are 5 best practices for implementation:
- Give less homework more frequently
- Ensure that students are practicing what they just learned
- Provide feedback as quickly as possible
- Explain to students the purpose of homework and how it will be evaluated
Many middle schools specifically are moving towards a model (or already have) that allows for a tutorial or advisory period. Utilize that time period and teach students to do the same.
Hopefully, some of these thoughts will help you to weigh your options and come to a conclusion that meets both your students’ needs and your philosophy and approach to teaching. Let us know in the comments – do you assign homework?
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