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Alfie Kohn

From the homework laboratories

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NEA Reviews of the Research on Best Practices in Education

Does homework improve student achievement?
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The Maltese et al. Was there a correlation between the amount of homework that high school students reported doing and their scores on standardized math and science tests? Yes, and it was statistically significant but "very modest": Is that really worth the frustration, exhaustion, family conflict, loss of time for other activities, and potential diminution of interest in learning? Thus, a headline that reads "Study finds homework boosts achievement" can be translated as "A relentless regimen of after-school drill-and-skill can raise scores a wee bit on tests of rote learning.

But it was grades, not tests, that Maltese and his colleagues really cared about. They were proud of having looked at transcript data in order to figure out "the exact grade a student received in each class [that he or she] completed" so they could compare that to how much homework the student did. And the result of this fine-tuned investigation?

There was no relationship whatsoever between time spent on homework and course grade, and "no substantive difference in grades between students who complete homework and those who do not. This result clearly caught the researchers off-guard. Frankly, it surprised me, too. When you measure "achievement" in terms of grades, you expect to see a positive result -- not because homework is academically beneficial but because the same teacher who gives the assignments evaluates the students who complete them, and the final grade is often based at least partly on whether, and to what extent, students did the homework.

Even if homework were a complete waste of time, how could it not be positively related to course grades? Even in high school. The study zeroed in on specific course grades, which represents a methodological improvement, and the moral may be: But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage.

Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction.

We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders. The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school.

At the secondary school level, student homework is associated with greater academic achievement. Review of Educational Research, Experts advise schools or districts to include teachers, parents, and students in any effort to set homework policies. Policies should address the purposes of homework; amount and frequency; school and teacher responsibilities; student responsibilities; and, the role of parents or others who assist students with homework.

When i was in pakistan i made sure to do my homework on the layout of the twin towers so when i flew my plane into it i knew where to bomb. Where does the gathering of special items such as shoe boxes, costumes, etc fall into the homework timeline? With several children in a family this puts a lot of pressure on everyone. And for what value? Yes, doing book work, reading, problems, etc. But the other stuff seems to be so out of line and over the top.

Especially in the advanced program. Even during vacation I had to do a 5 page essay for social studies, which took up almost the whole week of my time. That to me is the biggest thing we should think about and stop because it is taking away time for our active life in sports My thought.

This leaves limited to zero time for any other extracurricular activities in our case, one sport, one orchestra, and one club. The bedtime is being pushed further and further close to midnight, if not past.

To better manage to-do and priority, we set up a whiteboard in the study room to list daily and weekly due homework for these two subjects, this past weekend there were six 6 bullet items on the board. I was speechless but try to be positive to provide assistance. This leads me to this board and glad we are not alone.

There will need to be a better coordination and balance systems in place at schools so our kids can be challenged but not drained. The average weekly time for a full time job is around 40 hours give or take, and most jobs have you do the work in the job. Really, switch the teachers with prison guards and you have a juvenile rehabilitation center. Please read this and Email me ohockeyguy13 hotmail.

Homework is more important than extracurricular activities, however we need well rounded kids and those extracurricular activities help with that. I think people who spend more than 3 hours a day are probably just fooling around too much. People who spend more than 3 hours seems more like play work than homework.

Homework haterz

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Sep 23,  · Practice assignments do improve scores on class tests at all grade levels. A little amount of homework may help elementary school students build study habits. Homework for junior high students appears to reach the point of diminishing returns after about 90 minutes a night.

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Books like The End of Homework, The Homework Myth, and The Case Against Homework and the film Race to Nowhere make the case that homework, by taking away precious family time and putting kids under unneeded pressure, is an ineffective way to help children become better learners and thinkers.

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Nevertheless, most research purporting to show a positive effect of homework seems to be based on the assumption that when students who get (or do) more homework also score better on standardized tests, it follows that the higher scores were due to their having had more homework. While many researchers take either a positive or a negative stance on homework, Cooper () takes a more balanced approach, stating, "Research on the effects of homework suggests that it is beneficial as long as teachers use their knowledge of developmental levels to guide policies and expectations" (34).

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Research suggests that, with two exceptions, homework for elementary children is not beneficial and does not boost achievement levels. The first exception is in the case of a student who is struggling to complete classroom tasks. Second, even at the high school level, the research supporting homework hasn't been particularly persuasive. There does seem to be a correlation between homework and standardized test scores, but.