Homework for junior high students appears to reach the point of diminishing returns after about 90 minutes a night. For high school students, the positive line continues to climb until between 90 minutes and 2. Beyond achievement, proponents of homework argue that it can have many other beneficial effects. They claim it can help students develop good study habits so they are ready to grow as their cognitive capacities mature.
It can help students recognize that learning can occur at home as well as at school. It can foster independent learning and responsible character traits. Opponents of homework counter that it can also have negative effects. They argue it can lead to boredom with schoolwork because all activities remain interesting only for so long.
It can deny students access to leisure activities that also teach important life skills. Parents can get too involved in homework—pressuring their child and confusing him or her by using different instructional techniques than the teacher.
My feeling is that homework policies should prescribe amounts of homework consistent with the research evidence, but they should also give individual schools and teachers some flexibility to take into account the unique needs and circumstances of their students and families.
In general, teachers should avoid either extreme. Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, — In this article, the authors summarize research conducted in the United States since on the effects of homework. We all know that cramming gets the job done, but there is often little to zero retention of the subject material.
You can help your child retain more information by helping them set up a homework schedule where they study the same amount of material in smaller sections over a longer period of time. For example, rather than reading fifty pages of Biology homework all at once, they can break up the reading into chunks of ten pages and read them throughout the week.
This will help them build upon the information that they learned the previous days without getting overloaded. One way to help your child improve their test scores is to use part of their homework time to do sample tests. This will enable them to practice using their newly acquired skills by forcing them to apply the information to the sample test questions.
This has proven to be much more effective than merely reading through the assigned reading material, and then forgetting much of it by the time the actual test rolls around. Taking practice tests will also help take the pressure off during the real test, and should help reduce some of the test taking anxiety. They might have a good reason.
Some teachers might also be open to making changes to the homework assignments to make them more effective! Consider the results of the math exam. Fourth graders who did no homework got roughly the same score as those who did 30 minutes a night. Remarkably, the scores then declined for those who did 45 minutes, then declined again for those who did an hour or more! In twelfth grade, the scores were about the same regardless of whether students did only 15 minutes or more than an hour.
In the s, year-olds in a dozen nations were tested and also queried about how much they studied. Again, the results were not the same in all countries, even when the focus was limited to the final years of high school where the contribution of homework is thought to be strongest. Usually it turned out that doing some homework had a stronger relationship with achievement than doing none at all, but doing a little homework was also better than doing a lot.
Again they came up empty handed. Our students get significantly less homework than their counterparts across the globe. Every step of this syllogism is either flawed or simply false. Premise 2 has been debunked by a number of analysts and for a number of different reasons. But in fact there is now empirical evidence, not just logic, to challenge the conclusions. Two researchers looked at TIMSS data from both and in order to be able to compare practices in 50 countries. When they published their findings in , they could scarcely conceal their surprise:.
Not only did we fail to find any positive relationships, [but] the overall correlations between national average student achievement and national averages in the frequency, total amount, and percentage of teachers who used homework in grading are all negative!
If these data can be extrapolated to other subjects — a research topic that warrants immediate study, in our opinion — then countries that try to improve their standing in the world rankings of student achievement by raising the amount of homework might actually be undermining their own success. More homework may actually undermine national achievement. Incidental research raises further doubts about homework.
Reviews of homework studies tend to overlook investigations that are primarily focused on other topics but just happen to look at homework, among several other variables.
Here are two examples:. First, a pair of Harvard scientists queried almost 2, students enrolled in college physics courses in order to figure out whether any features of their high school physics courses were now of use to them. At first they found a very small relationship between the amount of homework that students had had in high school and how well they were currently doing.
Once the researchers controlled for other variables, such as the type of courses kids had taken, that relationship disappeared. The same researchers then embarked on a similar study of a much larger population of students in college science classes — and found the same thing: She then set out to compare their classroom practices to those of a matched group of other teachers. Are better teachers more apt to question the conventional wisdom in general?
More responsive to its negative effects on children and families? This analysis rings true for Steve Phelps, who teaches math at a high school near Cincinnati. But as I mastered the material, homework ceased to be necessary. Lyons has also conducted an informal investigation to gauge the impact of this shift. He gave less and less homework each year before finally eliminating it completely.
And he reports that. Homework is an obvious burden to students, but assigning, collecting, grading, and recording homework creates a tremendous amount of work for me as well. Nor is the Harvard physics study. People who never bought it will not be surprised, of course. Put differently, the research offers no reason to believe that students in high-quality classrooms whose teachers give little or no homework would be at a disadvantage as regards any meaningful kind of learning.
That will be the subject of the following chapter…. Two of the four studies reviewed by Paschal et al. The third found benefits at two of three grade levels, but all of the students in this study who were assigned homework also received parental help.
The last study found that students who were given math puzzles unrelated to what was being taught in class did as well as those who got traditional math homework. There is reason to question whether this technique is really appropriate for a topic like homework, and thus whether the conclusions drawn from it would be valid. Meta-analyses may be useful for combining multiple studies of, say, the efficacy of a blood pressure medication, but not necessarily studies dealing with different aspects of complex human behavior.
Homework contributes to higher achievement, which then, in turn, predisposes those students to spend more time on it. But correlations between the two leave us unable to disentangle the two effects and determine which is stronger.
Epstein and Van Voorhis, pp. Also see Walberg et al. In Cooper et al. For a more detailed discussion about and review of research regarding the effects of grades, see Kohn a, b. That difference shrank in the latest batch of studies Cooper et al. See Kohn b, , which includes analysis and research to support the claims made in the following paragraphs. Nevertheless, Cooper criticizes studies that use only one of these measures and argues in favor of those, like his own, that make use of both see Cooper et al.
The studies he reviewed lasted anywhere from two to thirty weeks. Quotation appears on p. If anything, this summary understates the actual findings. Why this might be true is open to interpretation.
The unpublished study by C.
Sep 23, · Students assigned homework in 2nd grade did better on math, 3rd and 4th graders did better on English skills and vocabulary, 5th graders on social studies, 9th through 12th graders on American history, and 12th graders on Shakespeare.
For students in Grades 6 and 7, up to an hour of meaningful homework per night can be beneficial. More than that can be detrimental. Grades 8 to Things change in high school. Most studies involving high school students suggest that students who do homework achieve at a higher rate.
For better or worse, homework is on the rise in the United States. A survey done through the University of Michigan found that by the ’03 school year, students ages 6 to 17 were doing twice as much homework as in ’ 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 giving too much of homework to primary school students might not be a good idea, as these same children progress through school, their homework load and assignments should be increased gradually, in order for them to learn better. 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. For high school students, the positive line continues to climb until between 90 minutes and hours of homework a night, after which returns diminish (Cooper, ; Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, ).