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Alfie Kohn

Does homework improve student achievement?

❶So, if there must be homework, it should be more along the lines of taking the parents grocery bill and calculate the average expense, or read a news article, and articulate a counter argument. Phelps, personal communication, March

Yes homework works

How Much Homework?
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What the Research Says

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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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The average high school student doing homework outperformed 69% of the students in a class with no homework. Homework in middle school was half as effective. In elementary school, there is no measurable correlation between homework and achievement. Despite all the research, homework remains something of a mystery.

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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. Since , educators around the world have conducted studies to answer a simple question: Does homework help or hinder a student’s ability to learn? As simple as the question seems to be, the answer is quite complex. So many variables affect student achievement.

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Students that know and understand the material have no reason to do homework. Those that have not grasped the material are not going to learn it by doing an assignment at home. If a student does not understand a particular concept when it is explained, that same student is not going to get an epiphany while doing homework for that subject. The homework question is best answered by comparing students assigned homework with students assigned no homework who are similar in other ways. The results of such studies suggest that homework can improve students’ scores on the class tests that come at the end of a topic.